Heber, Calif., celebrates groundbreaking of water and wastewater improvements project

March 24, 2003
The rural community of Heber, California, has commemorated the initiation of a water and wastewater systems improvements project that will provide better quality service to residents.

Heber, Calif., March 24, 2003 - The rural community of Heber, California, has commemorated the initiation of a water and wastewater systems improvements project that will provide better quality service to residents.

The Heber Public Utility District is receiving more than US$4 million in grant assistance from the North American Development Bank (NADB) for the project, which has a total estimated cost of US$6.7 million.

The NADB grant is being provided through its EPA-funded Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF). The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD) is also contributing funds for the project.

"The NADB is proud to be a partner with the Heber Public Utility District for this project that will mark a significant improvement in the quality of life for local residents," said Raúl Rodríguez, NADB Managing Director. "I am pleased that the Bank is contributing more than $4 million in BEIF funding, and we salute the USDA-RD for its contribution."

The Heber project will upgrade and expand its water treatment and distribution system and its wastewater collection system. The water system improvements include the construction of a new package plant to expand treatment capacity to provide new and existing customers with quality service.

Among the other improvements is the installation of back-up power generators that will guarantee continued service in the event of a power outage, and the installation of additional fire hydrants in the growing community. Replacing old and undersized sewer lines will help prevent uncontrolled discharge of raw sewage from manholes in some sections of the system.

As a result of these improvements, health and environmental problems will be reduced for the 3,400 residents of Heber, which is located approximately five miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Our community is growing and this project will help accommodate that growth and ensure that residents are properly served," said George Aguilar, General Manager of the Heber Public Utility District. "On behalf of the residents of Imperial County and especially, Heber, we appreciate the NADB and USDA-RD for assisting communities along the U.S.-Mexico border."

Through its BEIF program, the NADB has approved more than US$426 million in EPA-funded grants to support the construction of environmental infrastructure in various communities, which will benefit residents on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Since its inception in 1995, the NADB has approved more than US$486 million in loans and grants for 56 infrastructure projects in the region.

For more information on the NADB, visit www.nadb.org.

The North American Development Bank, created under the auspices of NAFTA, is a financial institution established and capitalized in equal parts by the United States and Mexico for the purpose of financing environmental infrastructure projects along their common border. As a pioneer institution in its field, the Bank is working to develop integrated, sustainable and fiscally responsible projects with broad community support in a framework of close cooperation and coordination between Mexico and the United States.

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