Donna , Texas, USA

State of Texas Colonias Water and Wastewater Hookup Project in Donna, Texas

Status: Completed


Colonias are substandard housing developments, often found along the Texas-Mexico border, where residents lack basic services such as drinking water, sewage treatment and paved roads. Most colonia residents use on-site sanitary systems, such as septic tanks, to manage their wastewater; however, the installation of these systems often goes unregulated, resulting in improperly constructed and poorly maintained systems. Most colonia residents without access to running water rely on wells to obtain their water. However, having been constructed in a largely unregulated environment, the water in those wells is subject to contamination from a number of sources, including on-site septic systems.

The State of Texas has undertaken a number of programs to remedy the conditions in existing colonias and to prevent new colonias.  In 1999, the State sponsored a plan to secure funding for residential water and wastewater hookups in seven communities that had, or would soon provide, access to a centralized water and wastewater systems in local colonias, but where residents were unable to afford connections on their own. One of the communities included in the plan was Donna, Texas.

Project scope 

In the case of Donna, the project consisted of installing up to 1,276 residential water and 1,276 residential wastewater connections. The project also included an outreach program for the purpose of identifying eligible residents and assisting them in filling out service applications and agreements.

During project implementation, the BEIF funding was redirected to finance construction of other wastewater collection components, including sewer lines and five lift stations, needed to extend service to the areas requiring hookups.  


The project helped provide access to first-time wastewater services for outlying colonias, thus reducing the health risks associated with substandard well construction and unregulated on-site sewage treatment.

Project Financing

Total Project Cost US 1.47M
NADBank Funding US 1.47M - NADBank Grant: BEIF