PALATKA, Fla., Aug. 18, 2017 — Work is under way on a $500,000 project to replace old water mains in downtown Hawthorne, which will save millions of gallons of water currently lost through its antiquated distribution system. The St. Johns River Water Management District is fully funding the city’s project through its cost-share program to help Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) communities meet their water conservation and water resource development goals.
“By updating a leaky distribution system, this project will prevent the loss of more than 13 million gallons of water per year,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “The district is committed to helping our REDI community partners on great projects such as this one to conserve our water resources.”
“The city of Hawthorne is honored to participate in the grant funding opportunity with SJRWMD,” said Hawthorne Mayor Matt Surrency. “As a small rural community, it is only through this program that we are able to upgrade our water distribution system to provide quality water in an efficient and conservative manner.”
Hawthorne City Manager Ellen Vause said the funding allowed the city to continue its replacement of old 1950s water lines, delivering better flow and pressure to its customers, along with conserving water from the old leaking pipes.
The project will replace old cast iron and galvanized water mains with new PVC water mains, as well as replace service lines to customers. This will result in water being consistently delivered at a higher pressure and reducing water losses.
“Hawthorne is a REDI community and relies on grant funding for projects that wouldn’t get done otherwise,” Ms. Vause said. “REDI communities don’t have the resources to fund the matching funds that most grants require, leaving us out of a chance to acquire much needed assistance. The SJRWMD REDI grant has made a huge impact on our community with the replacement of the Phase II water line project. The cost savings in repairs alone in the leaking pipes will be significant.”
For 2016-17, the district committed $5 million in cost-share funds to benefit water resources in REDI communities and for projects that use innovative technology to provide data supporting future permitting and full-scale implementation of alternative water supplies. Projects benefit one or more of the district’s core missions of water supply, water quality, natural systems restoration or flood protection.
A REDI community is economically disadvantaged and may also be unincorporated federal enterprise communities, or an incorporated rural city that is not located in a designated rural county. Funding for REDI communities may be used to sustain and enhance safe drinking water supplies as well as maintain and enhance wastewater systems.
Information about the district’s cost-share programs can be found at www.sjrwmd.com/localgovernments/funding/.