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Last updateSat, 19 Jan 2019 12am

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    Friday, January 18, 2019-10:34:57P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Kilili: $10.1M for Marianas water projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Office of the CNMI Congressional Delegate) — The Commonwealth Utilities Corporation will get another boost of $10.1 million toward the goal of 24-hour water for all Saipan residents, U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan announced Thursday.

The new money to CUC comes on top of the $73 million in Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Funds the Congressman had already brought in for water and sewer projects since 2010.

“Super Typhoon Yutu was a setback,” Sablan said. “In June, CUC reported that 96 percent of Saipan was receiving water around the clock, but we lost that level of service in the storm.

“Now we have to rebuild and the $10.1 million CUC is getting will help that recovery effort.”

Congress increased Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water funding this year nationwide. As a result, the Marianas is getting $3.8 million more than in 2017.

It is also a big increase from the days when the Marianas had no representation in Congress and only received about $1 million annually for water infrastructure. In his first year in office, Congressman Sablan worked to get the insular area set-asides for the water and sewer programs increased from 0.28 percent and 0.33 percent, respectively, to 1.5 percent for each.

Congress has kept the improved funding formulas in place ever since, although the decision is still made on an annual basis. Without the formula change CUC ratepayers would have had to pay for the $73 million investment in the water system on their monthly bills.

Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water grant funds are administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA also awarded $2.1 million to the CNMI Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality today. The grant will support BECQ’s inspections, emergency responses, radon assessments, coral reef protection, monitoring of beaches and water quality, drinking water improvements, cleanups of contaminated lands and polluted streams, and support for safe use of pesticides.

“As always, I want to thank our friends at EPA for the work they do to make sure all the money Congress appropriates for the Marianas is used effectively,” said Congressman Sablan.

“I also want to thank CUC. When I came into office only one in every four households on Saipan had 24-hour water. With the extra funds from Congress and hard work from CUC we have seen big changes; and people’s lives are better as a result.”