Water Supply Infrastructure Bill Picks Up Steam

Credit: AZ Big Media

By Nick Esquer for Chamber Business News

Last month, Arizona senators Martha McSally (R) and Kyrsten Sinema (D) joined forces in a show of bipartisanship by introducing legislation aimed at improving water supply infrastructure, giving local operators of federally owned facilities the resources and means they need to improve aging water treatment.

The Water Supply Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Utilization Act hones in on giving aid to the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) facilities that are in need of major upgrades or replacement. The total number of treatment facilities that fall under that category comes in at 80 percent. As those facilities, most of which are more than 50 years old, continue to age, the issue of treating water thoroughly and in a timely manner only increases.

The bill would set aside hundreds of millions of dollars to support water recycling, desalination plants, water storage projects and addresses the southwest region’s potentially dryer future.

Water continues to be on the minds of Arizona lawmakers heading into Congressional recess. Congress recently heard arguments on the Nogales Wastewater Fairness Act, a bipartisan-led effort that Sinema and McSally were in on as well as Representatives Raul Grijalva (D) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D). The legislation would redirect $4M of the International Boundary and Water Commission’s budget to the maintenance and operation of the International Outfall Interceptor, which shuttles wastewater from Nogales, Sonora, through Nogales, Arizona to a treatment plant in Rio Rico.

If the Water Act enacted, it would also ensure funding for key dam safety projects by bolstering the Safety of Dams program by $550M and would create the Flood Control Manual and Reservoir Operations Pilot Program, a program aimed at providing more water storage flexibility to the BOR reservoir operators.

Read more at Chamber Business News.

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