Says Infrastructure Package Must Prioritize Water Projects

Rep. Greg Stanton continued to advocate for significant federal investment in water infrastructure this week as he led a bipartisan group of House members to push for supplemental funding for a key water resource initiative.

In a letter to House leaders, Stanton and his colleagues asked that any final infrastructure package include supplemental funding for the Civil Works Program run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is the largest and oldest manager of water resources in the nation. The program’s mission is to protect communities from natural disasters and support local economies—it does this by investing in infrastructure projects that prevent flooding, restore water ecosystems, preserve watersheds and more.

Supplemental funding for the program would support the backlog of Congressionally authorized projects, which is already at an estimated $108 billion and growing.

Leading the bipartisan letter is Stanton’s latest action to ensure Congress will meet the urgent challenges Arizona and the Southwest face to deliver water to communities, protect neighborhoods from floods and extreme storms, improve water storage capacity to plan for the long-term effects of drought, conserve current water supplies and more.

“Safeguarding Arizona’s water supply is more important than ever,” said Stanton. “Every Arizonan should be concerned about how the changing climate and prolonged drought has put a stranglehold on our water supplies. I’m working to make sure that Congress responds to the seriousness of the situation by making significant water infrastructure investments to protect our communities from these ongoing threats.”

Stanton echoed the request for support during a Water Resources and the Environment Subcommittee hearing today. He noted the Biden administration’s budget proposal directs less than $5 million in Corps funds for the entire state of Arizona—all of it directed to operation and maintenance—leaving out funds for critical Arizona projects. Corps Commanding General Scott Spellmon and Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jaime Pinkham committed to working with Stanton to address this glaring funding shortfall and help advance Arizona’s projects.

Stanton’s recent work to push for water infrastructure investment:

  • Earlier this month, he joined a group of House members from Western states—including three Republicans—to specifically advocate for investing in Western water projects by including funding for the Bureau of Reclamation in any infrastructure package.
  • Stanton underscored the importance of several Arizona infrastructure projects in the Corps’ Civil Works Program backlog before a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in May.
  • Stanton’s FY2022 appropriations requests support advancing Tres Rios, a flood control and ecosystem restoration project in the Salt and Gila Rivers; a feasibility study in the Verde River Basin to identify new ways to restore storage capacity; and $4 million to help cities, counties and tribal governments in Arizona meet water and wastewater infrastructure demands.
  • In the last Congress, Stanton was successful in getting a $150 million water infrastructure initiative for Arizona included in the 2020 Water Resources Development Act. A critical water pipeline on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation was funded in January through the initiative.