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Lower interest rate to help fund New Mexico water projects

October 2, 2020 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A state panel that oversees water quality and permitting issues across New Mexico has approved lower interest rates for a program that helps finance water projects.

The Water Quality Control Commission made the decision during a recent meeting after considering a request by the state Environment Department. The agency estimates that up to 400 communities could benefit.

The loan program funds improvements for wastewater treatment plants, water conservation efforts, agricultural management and other projects.

“We know many New Mexico communities – especially our rural communities – are eagerly awaiting this change that allows greater access to capital for water and wastewater projects,” Environment Secretary James Kenney said in a statement issued Friday.

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Under the change, the maximum interest rate was slashed by more than half to just 1%. As an example, officials said an entity with a wastewater loan of $1 million dollars at the previous rate of 2.375% will save almost $160,000 in interest over a 20-year repayment period at the new rate.

Communities with current loans under the program or eligible loans from other funders may be able to refinance their loans at the new lower rates.