CALDWELL, Kan. (KSNW) – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing over $2.2 million in different infrastructure and economic development projects in rural Kansas. One of those projects is in Caldwell, a town of about 1,000 that is in desperate need of water system improvements.

Monday morning, the USDA Kansas Director for Rural Development, Christy Davis, announced that the USDA is investing $2,268,200 toward eight community projects across the state.

For the City of Caldwell, a $479,000 loan and a $512,000 grant will supplement previous funding for improvements to the water supply system. Funds already assigned to this project include a prior award from Rural Development’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan in the amount of $1,558,000 and a Kansas Department of Commerce-Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $600,000.

The City has already started with its 150,000-gallon water tower and 40,000-gallon clear well.   

It’s much needed as many parts of Caldwell’s water system are around 100 years old. 

“The state allows a certain percentage of water loss each year, and we just keep increasing, and a part of that is due to aging infrastructure,” said Caldwell Public Works Supervisor Josh Vanek.  

That aging infrastructure is causing the clear well to leak, according to officials. 

“We have been trying to repair that for years and look at the different options for that, and turned out we needed a whole new water system,” said Caldwell Finance Commissioner Jill Kuehny.  

Kuehny said the community wants to see these replacements. 

 “This will replace the water system and quality coming into town and help us deal with our clear well leaks and issues. It will not replace the water pipes,” said Kuehny.  

It’s just the start of years of upgrades to come for Caldwell. 

“This has taken a huge budget relief pressure off of us to at least get our quality water resource in,” said Kuehny.  

Once the new water tower is up and running with the clear well and new high-service pumping station, the old water tower will be torn down. 

Next, the City will apply for funding to replace the water lines and move toward updating the sewage system.