Senate Advances Water Package Including Sinema-Secured Tribal Water Funding

Apr 29, 2021

Bipartisan package includes Sinema’s work to provide $250 million over 5 years for Tribal Drinking Water Program

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate advanced the bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act—bipartisan legislation that strengthens Arizona’s water future and includes $250 million for the Tribal Drinking Water Program that Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema secured.
“I am proud to see the Senate come together and pass today’s legislation with bipartisan support. Investing in water resource and infrastructure projects across Arizona strengthens our state’s economy and water future,” said Sinema.
The bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act invests $35 billion for water resource projects that include aging infrastructure, new technologies, and water security for Arizona and tribal communities.
Key Arizona priorities in the legislation include:

  • Reauthorization of the Indian Reservation Drinking Water Program and provides $50 million annually, for a total of $250 million over 5 years, to EPA to fund tribal water projects, with dedicated funding set-aside for 10 tribal water projects in Arizona each year. 
  • $25 million a year for Pilot Programs for Alternative Water Source Projects, including desalination plants, and storm water and wastewater reuse plants. Arizona is the nation’s leader in water reclamation and reuse technologies.
  • $50 million per year for resiliency grants to public water and wastewater systems to secure infrastructure from cyber threats and from risks posed by climate change, including extreme drought and wildfires.
  • $280 million per year for Sewer Overflow and Storm water Reuse Municipal Grants, to help cities, including Arizona’s border communities, with planning, construction, and design of treatment works for wastewater systems. 
  • Increased funding to directly benefit small, disadvantaged, rural, and tribal communities to invest in community water projects that address aging infrastructure and improve water quality through the State Revolving Loan Funds.
  • Increased investment to address recruitment, training, and retention challenges facing the water and wastewater utility workforce.
  • Significant investments in technical assistance and new and emerging technologies that result in cleaner, safer, and more reliable water.

In February, Sinema called for the Bureau of Reclamation to address the $13 million budget shortfall necessary to complete the Rural Water Based System for the White Mountain Apache Tribe—critical for the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s access to a safe and reliable water supply.
Sinema partnered with Republican Senator Mitt Romney to reintroduce bipartisan legislation investing $1.3 billion in strengthening the Sanitation Facilities Construction Program to support water and sanitation projects for tribal communities.