RCAP Responds to Hurricanes Harvey & Irma

September 15, 2017 | General RCAP News

Washington, DC

When natural disasters occur, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) serves as the national leader in assisting small communities. In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, RCAP is on the ground everyday working with communities affected by the storms. RCAP’s regional partners, Communities Unlimited (CU), Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP), and RCAP Solutions, have all been working closely with government agencies and local communities to perform assessments in the affected areas. They have also been providing much needed technical assistance to water systems and communities in need of help.

In Texas, CU staff have performed 171 assessments on water systems on behalf of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development (USDA-RD) office to determine the level of damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. CU also produced detailed GIS maps of affected areas that are being used to assess damaged water systems and aid in the recovery efforts. While more than 30 systems sustained significant damage, many are able to continue serving their communities who are in desperate need of good news.

In Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, RCAP Solutions staff are diligently working with both the Environmental Protection Agency and USDA-RD to assess the impact of Hurricane Irma. Across the islands, many small communities have lost power, leaving them unable to begin the assessment phase.

SERCAP is currently evaluating how best to deploy its resources to assist rural communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The organization is developing emergency response plans in anticipation of the predicted damage from Hurricane Irma. SERCAP has played an active role in responding to previous hurricanes by helping to distribute bottled water, conducting well tests, and assembling hundreds of new well pressure tanks for homeowners.

As a recognized federal/state partnering NGO, the RCAP Network can be a “force-multiplier” to assist federal and state agencies on specific Mission Assignments in response to disasters. RCAP has environmental Technical Assistance Professionals (TAPs) in every state who are trained as Certified Water / Wastewater Operators. Since RCAP’s network is so vast, other TAPs from across the country can be called upon to provide additional resources to affected areas.

RCAP will continue to be a leader in disaster response for small communities across the country. For up to date information regarding RCAP’s relief efforts, please subscribe to our e-newsletter, Drop of Knowledge, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Rural Community Assistance Partnership is a national network of six regional non-profit organizations working to ensure that rural and small communities throughout the country have access to safe drinking water and sanitary wastewater disposal. The RCAP network provides a variety of programs to accomplish this goal, including direct training and on the ground technical assistance. For more information, visit www.rcap.org.