Senator Sinema reacts to Interior Department’s announcement to protect Colorado River System

Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema
Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema(sinema.senate.gov)
Published: Oct. 29, 2022 at 12:40 PM MST
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WASHINGTONArizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema released a statement following the U.S. Interior Secretary’s announcement on new steps to improve and protect long-term sustainability of the Colorado River System.

“Arizona has long been a leader in conserving water during our historic drought, and we will continue to lead by example. Arizonans should not be penalized for this leadership as the Department considers its options. All Colorado River Basin States face this drought, and everyone wins or loses together. I’ll continue working with Secretary Haaland and all our partners across the Basin to identify lasting solutions that protect Arizona’s water future as we continue to confront this historic drought.”

The U.S. Interior Department announced new actions necessary to improve and protect the long-term sustainability of the Colorado River System. The Bureau of Reclamation is beginning an expedited, supplemental process to revise the current interim operating guidelines for the operation of the Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams in 2023 and 2024 to provide additional alternatives needed to address the likelihood of continued low water conditions across the Basin.

Sinema has been actively working with Arizona partners to identify solutions helping mitigate the impact of Western drought in Arizona. Sinema personally secured $4 billion in Western water drought resiliency during negotiations of the Inflation Reduction Act ensuring the legislation included adequate climate resources to secure Arizona’s water and economic future. Following Sinema’s success, the Gila River Indian Community offered 750,000 acre-feet of water conservation over the next three years.

In October, Sinema convened her third Water Advisory Council meeting since its launch at the Hoover Dam in August. During her meeting, Sinema and members of the Council – including Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis – discussed the recent announcement from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation detailing next steps for new funding opportunities from the $4 billion investment in drought mitigation Sinema personally secured in the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Lower Colorado River Basin System Conservation and Efficiency Program – a new program created under the Sinema-negotiated Inflation Reduction Act law – will select projects for funding to mitigate drought, protect natural resources, and ensure a reliable source of water and power for communities across Arizona.

During her Water Advisory Council meeting, the Senator also announced $5 million from her bipartisan infrastructure law that will provide federal cost share to conduct the Verde River Sedimentation feasibility study, which would identify solutions to restore at least 46,000 acre-feet of water storage.

Between Sinema’s bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law and the Inflation Reduction law she shaped, the Senator has secured more than $13 billion in drought relief and Western water funding – the majority, if not all, will be disbursed through the Bureau of Reclamation.