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Fighting the War on Poverty in Rural America
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared an "unconditional war on poverty in America." RCAP began as an outgrowth of the war on poverty, and over the past 40 years, we have made great progress in ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable safe drinking water and sanitary wastewater. But much work remains to be done. According to some estimates, there are still a million Americans without access to running water, many (if not most) of whom live in rural communities. RCAP is committed to finding practical solutions for improving rural communities through the provision of clean, safe drinking water and sustainable, sanitary wastewater services.
Read more about RCAP's history
RCAP works in small, rural communities across the United States, its territories, and in tribal areas. Most of the communities where RCAP works are low-income and have a population under 2,500. RCAP provides customized, in-person technical assistance and training services, financial assistance, and information and publications to help communities operate efficient water and wastewater systems that are in compliance with regulations. RCAP’s assistance enables communities to provide a reliable, safe and clean supply of drinking water and a sanitary wastewater disposal system. The health of residents is protected, the environment is cared for, and the economies of whole communities are supported by this critical infrastructure.
Watch this short video to learn more about RCAP:
Every year, 140 RCAP specialists based in RCAP's six regional partners provide assistance to more than 2,000 communities in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
An example of our work:
In the tiny, unincorporated community of Todd, N.C., RCAP staff have assisted county officials in determining the feasibility of creating a sanitary district to provide water and wastewater services to the community. RCAP has worked with local officials to develop a survey that will document the water and sewer needs of the community and gauge public interest in the creation of the sanitary district. In addition, RCAP staff have hosted community meetings to explain the options to residents. Currently, the two neighboring counties are working together to find funding for a preliminary engineering report and determine whether a project is feasible. RCAP will continue its assistance throughout the feasibility study and will be ready to help the community should it decide to proceed with the formation of the sanitary district and construction of water and wastewater infrastructure.
"RCAP Solutions [the Northeast RCAP] is essential to small, rural districts like ours. We have a limited number of users, few options for growth and a very limited budget, yet we must continue to provide safe drinking water just like our larger counterparts in the cities. We depend on having agencies like RCAP Solutions to provide assistance and help us fill the gaps between what we can do on our own and what we need to do to maintain compliance."
-- Deborah A. Hutchins
Canton [Maine] Water District Superintendent