Sinema launches Water Advisory Council to address drought crisis

Aug 10, 2022

Sinema launches Water Advisory Council to address drought crisis

Eastern Arizona Courier

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on launched her newly-formed Water Advisory Council — an assembly of Arizona water experts and key stakeholders — to develop solutions in response to Arizona’s worsening drought conditions, a release from the senator’s communications office announced.

Sinema held the Water Advisory Council’s launch and subsequent roundtable discussion at the Hoover Dam, where the group received a tour of the facility and saw the effects of Arizona’s historic drought first hand. 

“We’re so excited to announce our Water Advisory Council – a dedicated, knowledgeable group of Arizonans committed to working together to find solutions to our state’s ongoing drought,” Sinema said in the release. “This partnership represents our shared dedication to securing Arizona’s water future so our state can continue to grow and thrive.”

Members of Sinema’s newly-launched Water Advisory Council in attendance include Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, Tom Buschatzke from the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Central Arizona Project General Manager Ted Cooke, Christian Stumpf of the Nature Conservancy, and Arizona State University’s Kyl Center for Water Policy Director Sarah Porter.

The release said council was established to seek feedback from water experts and stakeholders from across Arizona — including Tribal and academic leaders — to develop and deliver solutions to Arizona’s ongoing drought. It comes in light of the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) announcement that Colorado River Basin states must drastically conserve water to preserve critical levels at Lakes Mead and Powell.

The release said the formation of Sinema’s Water Advisory Council builds on her focus of making meaningful progress addressing Arizona’s ongoing drought crisis, which is the worst it’s been in 1,200 years. This past year, Sinema secured $4 billion for drought mitigation across the American West in the Senate-passed Inflation Reduction Act. In 2021, Sinema co-authored and led negotiations for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law, which makes historic investments in drought resilience. Specifically, the law includes more than $8 billion to strengthen water infrastructure throughout the American West, such as drought contingency, dam safety, aging infrastructure, water storage, water recycling, and more. This funding includes $300 million over the next five years for water reclamation operations under the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan. Of this funding, $250 million is for the Bureau of Reclamation to create or conserve 100,000 acre feet of water annually for the Lower Colorado River Basin at Lake Mead.