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Press Release

Rep. Cuellar and the Department of Agriculture Announces $28,945,000 in Federal Funds for Union Water Supply Corporation in Starr County

Starr County, Texas | Tony Wen, Press Secretary (202-856-8750), February 2, 2024

Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar, Ph.D. (TX-28) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $28,945,000 in federal funding for Union Water Supply Corporation in Starr County.

“As Starr County grows, so does its need for proper water infrastructure. Today’s award will increase Union Water Supply Corporation’s capacity for water treatment for many years to come, ensuring access to water in our community,” said Dr. Cuellar, a Senior Member of the House Appropriations Committee. “In Congress, I will continue to fight for reinvestment of federal dollars in South Texas infrastructure. Thank you to Lillian Salerno, USDA Rural Development State Director for Texas, Marlene Mendoza-De La Torre, President of the Union Water Supply Board of Directors, and County Commissioner Eloy Garza for working with me to deliver for Starr County.

“Union Water Supply Corporation has taken a proactive step to ensure that essential services such as this wastewater plant expansion project will be available for residents both now and in the future. USDA Rural Development is proud to provide this grant and loan combination to assure folks in Starr County receive the same type of services as their counterparts in urban areas of Texas,” said Lillian Salerno, USDA Rural Development State Director for Texas.

“This is a project that has been many years in the making. These funds will serve to improve the lives of all our corporation members. I’m very grateful to USDA for their support of this project and to all my fellow board members, both past and present, for their contributions and dedication to our community,” said Marlene Mendoza-De La Torre, President of the Union Water Supply Corporation Board of Directors.

The funds, administered by the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), will be used to rehabilitate and expand Union Water Supply Corporation’s existing water treatment plant. This will add 2.5 million gallons (MGD) capacity for a total capacity of 4.0 MGD, increase clear well capacity to 0.8 MGD, and include river station rehabilitation and distribution system upgrades.

A specific breakdown of the funding is as follows:

RUS Persistent Poverty Loan


RUS Persistent Poverty Grant


RUS Regular Grant




Dr. Cuellar is a strong supporter of improved water infrastructure. Last year, he introduced the Water Infrastructure Enhancement Act of 2023. This bipartisan legislation creates a grant program within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for public water system infrastructure improvements.