Durbin, Emerson receive Ground Water Protector Award from NGWA

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) have received the 2005 Ground Water Protector Award from the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).

The Ground Water Protector Award recognizes people in government, industry and the private sector for their public service efforts in conjunction with ground water conservation, protection and use.

Both Durbin and Emerson are key supporters of funding for a federal household water well system financing program. "For many low-income families who depend on a household water well, this financing program truly will be a lifeline. We are very grateful to Sen. Durbin and Rep. Emerson for support and compassion toward those individuals," said John Christiansen, chair of NGWA's Government Affairs Committee. "Nearly half our nation's population depends on ground water in all or part," Christiansen said. "That's why it is vital to provide well construction and repair funds to help those who care barely make ends meet."

Last year, President George W. Bush signed a bill supported by NGWA that provides $1 million for loans to low- to moderate-income persons for the installation or improvement of household water wells. The money will be disbursed to eligible organizations that, in turn, will provide low-interest loans for terms of up to 20 years. Some 3.6 million low- to moderate-income households across the country use outmoded water wells, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sen. Durbin supported the well financing program on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. Rep. Emerson, who represents the 28 counties of southern Missouri's agriculturally diverse Eighth District, supported the well financing program on the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

NGWA is a membership organization representing more than 15,000 U.S. and international ground water professionals including ground water contractors, scientists, and engineers. NGWA operates the nation's only certification program for water well contractors and pump installers. For more information, visit www.ngwa.org.

This article originally appeared in the 04/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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