ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Rural Alaska homes with water and sewer service increased 3 percent since last year to 69 percent, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.
A spokesman for the Governor's Council on Rural Sanitation said Tuesday that with continued funding and completion of projects that are now under way, the figure will increase to 84 percent by 2003.
Council Co-chairman Robert Beans of Mountain Village said the hardest part the group's task will be getting water to the remaining 16 percent.
''These are the small communities, the hardest to reach, but we as a council will give the energy it takes to finish the journey and protect our village way of life,'' Beans said.
The council is a 20-member group that includes representatives of state and federal agencies, Native and rural organizations, public officials and members of the public. The council develops, coordinates and monitors plans for safe water and adequate sewage disposal for rural Alaskans.
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