Puerto Rico, USVI to receive $108M to upgrade water systems

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday that Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will receive a total of nearly $108 million to improve drinking water infrastructure across the U.S. territories.

Puerto Rico is slated to get $62 million and the U.S. Virgin Islands nearly $46 million.

The money is part of a push by the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden to improve drinking water systems and remove lead pipes.

Federal officials said Congress appropriated an additional $6 billion for water projects in U.S. states and territories as part of the $550 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that Biden signed in November 2021.

Officials said the money will target disadvantaged communities. Puerto Rico, an island of 3.2 million people, has a 46% poverty rate. The U.S. Virgin Islands, a three-island territory of 87,000 people, has a poverty rate of nearly 20%.

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