Success Story
Release No.STELPRD4023007
, Feb 24, 2014 --

Outline Of Need:

For the past 50 years, the small City of Veneta in Oregon’s southern Willamette Valley has struggled to meet the increasing demand for water. Unlike other communities in the area, Veneta is not located near an active river, and the geological conditions limit groundwater availability. The city had planned to invest $59 million into the development of new wells, but their ability to conduct additional drilling was limited in 2010 to protect the groundwater. In part due to the town’s uncertain water supply, Veneta saw a slow decline in their business base over the last 30 years.

How Rural Development Helped:

In 2010, USDA Rural Development awarded a $13 million loan and a $2.6 million grant to the City of Veneta through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the construction of a 10-mile water pipeline to connect Veneta’s 1,461 homes and 74 businesses and facilities to the nearby distribution system operated by the Eugene Water and Electric Board.

“The ARRA funding was crucial for the success of this project,” said Veneta City Administrator Ric Ingham. “Across the board, it was a great experience to work with Rural Development.”

With the help of an efficient contractor, as well as a mild, dry winter, the pipeline project came in approximately $5.5 million under budget, and it was completed ahead of schedule in September 2013.

The Results:

The new pipeline is projected to meet Veneta’s water supply needs for the foreseeable future. Compared with well development, the city will save over $40 million in the next 20 years alone, significantly limiting the increase in utility costs for ratepayers.

With a long-term water supply and the capacity for future growth secured, businesses and industry began returning to Veneta within five months, and the city’s population is projected to double by 2035.

“Fifty years of water source uncertainty restricted the community’s development,” said Ingham. “Now we can take those unknowns off the table and focus instead on improving the prosperity of our community.”

Fast Facts:

Program: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act / Water and Environmental Programs

Date: Awarded August 2010 / Completed September 2013

Investment: $10.3 million direct loan

Congressional District: Congressman Peter DeFazio, District 4

Partners: Murray, Smith, and Associates, Inc.; Pacific Excavation, Inc.

Demographics: City of Veneta, population 4,631, Lane County


    · Secure water supply will meet projected city needs for the next 60 to 80 years and provide capacity for future growth

    · $44 million dollars saved over the next 20 years