Rep. Greg Stanton today announced that the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona will receive $900,000 in federal funds to build a critical water pipeline on the reservation that will boost water security for the community. 

The water pipeline will be funded through a key initiative Stanton fought to include in the 2020 Water Resources Development Act, which will ultimately provide $150 million for water infrastructure projects throughout Arizona. This is the first infrastructure project in the state to receive funding under the new initiative.

Stanton made the announcement on a call today with Chairman Peter Yucupicio and members of the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Council.

The funds will be used to construct a pipeline to deliver non-potable water in lieu of potable water from the City of Tucson for irrigation at the Tribe’s Wellness Center, Pueblo Park and nearby ball fields on the reservation. It will also support the conservation of approximately 50 acre-feet of potable water in the Tucson region that can be re-purposed to meet existing demand for the Tribe—an effort that will significantly support the Tribe’s ability to manage and protect its limited water supplies.

“In the Southwest, water is our lifeblood. That’s why in the last Congress, I fought to make sure Arizona would get its fair share of federal funds in the Water Resources Development Act—because I know communities across the state have urgent needs to protect and preserve their water supplies,” Stanton said. “This pipeline is the first Arizona project to receive funds, and when it’s complete, it’s going to support the Pascua Yaqui Reservation’s growth and ability to plan for the future.” 

Stanton worked with stakeholders across Arizona, including many tribal communities, to help identify projects that would benefit from federal funds. Under the provision in the Water Resources Development Act, federal funds will cover 75 percent of the total cost of any project.

“Water is sacred to a lot of tribes and a lot of Arizonans—for us, it’s a blessing,” said Chairman Yucupicio. “We had started working years back to figure out our water needs, and there was always fear—would we have enough water available? This just relieves us a little bit more. It’s always a blessing when someone reaches out to you with relief. That’s what this really means.”

The Pascua Yaqui Reservation covers more than 2,200 acres in southern Arizona and is home to more than 20,000 enrolled Tribal Members.

The Reservation currently has no surface water and no groundwater wells to supply water to its residents. A 2011 intergovernmental agreement between the Tribe and the City of Tucson allows the Tribe to receive potable water service from the City, but limits the amount the City provides. As housing needs on the reservation grows, the Tribe is set to exceed its water delivery limits with the City in just a few years.

The new distribution line would secure additional water from the main Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal for the reservation—allowing the Tribe to use non-potable CAP water and reserve its potable supplies from the City of Tucson.