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Sen. Sinema tells cities to work together to secure federal drought relief money

Posted at 6:29 PM, Feb 03, 2023

Right now, the seven states that rely on the Colorado River are trying to reach an agreement.

This week, six states including Arizona, sent a proposal to reduce their allotment of Colorado River water to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

California submitted its own plan — one that would eliminate Phoenix's share entirely. 40% of the city's water comes from the Colorado River.

"Most of us senators understand that's not realistic. The only realistic solution to seven basin states in the Southwest is for us to find a way out of this challenge together through joint conservation, sacrifices and innovation," Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema said.

Sinema briefed city leaders from across the Valley Friday, all of them members of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, on the next steps they'll need to consider in securing drought relief infrastructure money as states.

"We share your concern. Arizona has not yet got its fair share of the dollars allocated for western water security," Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego told Sinema during the meeting.

In a few weeks, Phoenix will complete the construction of a 9-mile-long pipeline, allowing it to move water from its Salt and Verde River reserves to North Phoenix where Colorado River water is used.

It won't eliminate the city's dependence on the Colorado River.

$13 billion in federal infrastructure funding is set aside for drought relief projects in the Southwest. Sinema told the cities regional projects will have the best chance of securing federal support.