Arizona-related Water Resources Development Act passed by US Senate

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) — The Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (WRDA) passed Thursday and will increase funding for Arizona’s water infrastructure projects.

WRDA, designed by Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), will use funds for certain projects, as well as to clean up old uranium mines on tribal lands.

“Arizona is facing a historic drought and we need solutions now,” Senator Kelly said. “Our bipartisan bill cuts red tape to ensure Arizona has the resources and tools to protect its precious water resources now and for generations to come. I will continue to work with Republicans and Democrats to make cross the finish line to our bill.

According to a press release, here is what is included in the law:

  • Cutting red tape to complete stalled water projects in Arizona: two projects in Arizona, the Rio de Flag project in Flagstaff and the Tres Rios project in Phoenix.
  • Western Water Program Funding: Kelly was awarded $200 million through the Army Corps’ Rural Western Water Program exclusively for water infrastructure projects in Arizona.
  • Cleanup of Abandoned Uranium Mines: Abandoned uranium and hard rock mining sites on tribal lands continue to pose serious health risks to tribal communities.
  • Keeping Arizonans safe from flooding: Kelly won language authorizing the Army Corps to work with the Maricopa County Flood Control District to fix the aging McMicken Dam that protects about 130,000 residents, the airport from Phoenix Goodyear, I-10 and the airbase from stormwater flooding.
  • Extended Tribal Partnership Program (TPP) through 2033: This program, which tribes use for various water quality projects, including drought and water conservation projects, was scheduled to expire this year. Kelly argued for and was granted an extension until 2033.
  • Accountability in water conservation projects: For too long, the Corps has undervalued the benefits of water conservation and drought relief projects, reducing funding opportunities.
  • Drought as a New Eligibility for Water Supply Projects: Corps authorities were historically limited to a narrow scope for projects that did not include drought.
  • Western Infrastructure Pilot Study: The Army Corps has never conducted a specific study focused on how to improve water conservation and drought resistance of dams and reservoirs in the West. western United States.

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