Sinema Strengthens Arizona’s Water Security Through Bipartisan Water Resources Bill

Dec 22, 2020

Sinema secured Arizona priorities in the Water Resources Development Act

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema secured a number of Arizona priorities in the Water Resources Development Act, which passed Congress with bipartisan support and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“Arizona’s future depends on protecting and strengthening our water security. Working across the aisle and with local Arizona stakeholders, I’m proud to have secured critical priorities in this legislation that will fuel jobs, restore our waterways, address drought conditions, and expand opportunity across our state,” said Sinema.  
Sinema secured the following priorities for Arizona in the Water Resources Development Act:
Flood Mitigation along Tonto Creek: Following Kyrsten’s urging in February, the bill directs the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a feasibility study for flood risk management in Tonto Creek, AZ. This is the first step to securing Army Corps funding to help either construct a Tonto Creek bridge, or take other steps to mitigate the flooding risk along Tonto Creek. 
Rio de Flag Completion: Earlier this year, Kyrsten secured funding for the Rio de Flag project, and the Water Resources Development Act further supports the project by directing Army Corps to expedite the completion of the project.
Removal of Salt Cedars to Improve Arizona’s Water Supply: For decades, invasive salt cedar trees have depleted Arizona’s precious water resources, crowded out native plants, increased flood risks, and created a greater fire risk for Arizona communities, especially in Buckeye and other communities along the Gila River. The bill authorizes the US Fish and Wildlife Service to spend up to $10 million each year to remove and replace invasive plant species, prioritizing salt cedars, in riparian areas in the Lower Colorado River Basin. This language is inspired by Kyrsten’s DRIP Act, which authorizes a similar $10 million pilot program.
Construction of the Little Colorado River Levee Project: Following Kyrsten’s urging, the bill authorizes the Army Corps to begin construction on the Winslow Levee project outside the City of Winslow in Navajo County. Congressional authorization is needed before work can begin on this project. This project will significantly reduce the risk of flooding in Winslow, and protect the BNSF Southern Transcon rail line (which is one of the busiest rail lines in the country).
Completion of Flood Control Study for Lower Santa Cruz River: Following Kyrsten’s urging, the bill directs the Army Corps to expedite the completion of its flood control study for the Lower Santa Cruz river basin in Pinal County. This river basin currently has no flood control system in place, leaving the City of Maricopa, the Gila River Indian Community, and the surrounding farmland at risk of severe flooding. Army Corps is currently working with stakeholders to finalize a flood control plan, and the bill encourages Army Corps to move expeditiously to finalize its flood control plan.  
Water control Manual Update for Roosevelt Dam: Sinema secured language allowing SRP to pay the Army Corps to improve the manual for Roosevelt Dam and save more water for cities in the Phoenix area.
Rural Water Projects: Sinema secured inclusion of Arizona and $150 million annually for Arizona in a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers program for rural water projects.
Sinema has long worked to advance commonsense solutions to secure Arizona’s water future. Last year, Sinema introduced the DRIP Act, which equips communities in Arizona, and across the country, to address drought conditions and strengthen water supplies. Additionally, Sinema helped get the Drought Contingency Plan across the finish line in the Senate. Sinema also cosponsored the bipartisan Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act, which allows Arizona cities, tribes, and water providers access to critical funding to secure the state’s water future.