With additional funding, CUC closer to 24-hour drinking water on Saipan

Posted on Jan 17 2022


The CNMI will be receiving close to $21 million a year for five years until 2026 through funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that will go to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s water and wastewater projects, moving CUC a step closer to its goal of achieving 24-hour “palatable” drinking water on Saipan.

CUC executive director Gary Camacho disclosed this in a brief interview Wednesday, during which he also said that achieving 24-hour drinking water on Saipan has been a goal of CUC for many years now.

“We’re very excited that it looks like the EPA will continue to support and increase the funding source, potentially, for our water [and] wastewater programs over the next five years. …That really should give us much closer or the ability to achieve 24-hour palatable drinking water on the island of Saipan in that period,” said Camacho. “It’s been an effort by many people over many years, and it looks like, finally, that we’re starting to see the opportunity for these goals to [come to] fruition.”

Separately, in a Dec. 5, 2021, news release on his official website, Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) announced that the first-year allotment of water and sewer funding for the CNMI from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is $20,794,000.

“The IIJA will provide this funding, particularly aimed at historically underserved communities, annually for five years, through 2026,” Sablan wrote.

This funding is in addition to Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act funding that CUC receives from the U.S. Congress yearly.

Sablan further disclosed in his release that 24-hour water for “virtually all Marianas households” was achieved through funding formula changes he advocated for in 2010.

Next up for the CNMI? Water that is not only “potable” but also “palatable,” wrote Sablan. “That means not only free of bacteria and other harmful substances, but clear and good tasting right out of the tap. Now we have the money to reach this goal,” he added.

Joshua Santos | Reporter
Joshua Santos is a Mount Carmel School AlumKnight and University of Florida Gator Grad with a passion for writing. He is one of Saipan Tribune’s newest reporters. Josh enjoys golf, chess, and playing video games with friends in his spare time. Reach out to him @rarebasedjosh on all socials.

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