WEST UNION, W.Va. – The United States Dept. of Agriculture and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce have both announced millions of dollars in federal funding to improve access to water for Doddridge County residents.
“People are begging for water,” Jennifer Wilt, executive director of the Doddridge County Economic Development Authority said. “We get calls all the time from people wanting water.”
Nearly $3.6 million in federal grant money comes to Doddridge County to make critical water infrastructure improvements, partly to bring public water to a 55 acre area of prime real estate off Route 18.. south of U.S. 50, which could spur residential growth.
“We do have people now wanting to move into the county because our schools are doing so well,” Wilt said. “We are now third in the state, I believe, in testing. So people are looking for any place that they can buy so they can send kids to our schools.”
But right now, Doddridge County faces a housing shortage, with only 20% of county residents having access to public water, Wilt said the focus is on getting water to more residents.
“There’s no doubt that it’s the revenue from the gas industry that has allowed the county to invest in the water infrastructure,” Wilt said. “And I think they’re doing it wisely. They have made that their priority. All three commissioners have made water a priority in this county.”
According to the Doddridge County PSD, the county has a goal of getting public water to 80 percent of residents within 30 years.
“Other communities in Appalachia have done the same thing,” Wilt said. “It’s hard, but other communities have done it, and that’s what we are trying to do.”