Sen. Kelly Secures Key Funding for Arizona and Tribal Community Water Infrastructure Projects

Today the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works unanimously passed bipartisan legislation cosponsored and shaped by Arizona Senator Mark Kelly to invest in the drinking water and wastewater needs of Arizona and its 22 tribal communities. The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 authorizes more than $35 billion for water infrastructure projects across the country with a focus on upgrading aging infrastructure including Arizona tribal water projects, investing in new technologies, and providing assistance to marginalized communities.

Shortly after the unanimous bipartisan vote to advance the legislation, Senator Kelly spoke in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee about the legislation and its importance to Arizona. 

Watch Sen. Kelly’s remarks HERE

“Recent data indicates that drought conditions in Arizona and the entire southwest are the worst they’ve been in 20 years. At a time when Arizona’s population continues to grow, ongoing water shortages pose a serious threat to Arizona’s economy, and the livelihoods of all Arizonans. Yet, at a time when water conservation is so critical, most of Arizona’s drinking water infrastructure is more than 30 years old, and Arizona’s wastewater infrastructure is suffering from a $1.4 billion investment shortfall. To adapt to ongoing drought conditions, Arizona must make smart investments in our drinking water infrastructure, to prevent leaks and water main breaks that waste our precious water resources, and in our wastewater infrastructure to support new, advanced water reuse technologies. That’s why I’m proud to cosponsor the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021,” said Senator Mark Kelly in the committee.

Kelly worked with Republicans and Democrats to successfully secure Arizona priorities into this water infrastructure package including the reauthorization of the Indian Reservation Drinking Water Program which will fund drinking water projects for Arizona’s tribal communities and direct $25 million for Pilot Programs for Alternative Water Source Projects. The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 includes:

  • The reauthorization of the Indian Reservation Drinking Water Program and provides $50 million annually to EPA to fund tribal water projects, with dedicated funding set-aside for 10 tribal water projects in Arizona each year. In March, Sen. Kelly requested this funding be included in this legislation.
  • $25 million a year for Pilot Programs for Alternative Water Source Projects, including desalination plants, and stormwater and wastewater reuse plants. Arizona is the nation’s leader in water reclamation and reuse technologies, and in March, Sen. Kelly requested that additional funding and flexibilities be provided to support the development of water reuse technologies in Arizona.
  • $50 million per year for resiliency grants to public water and wastewater systems to secure infrastructure from cyber threats and from risks posed by climate change, including extreme drought and wildfires.
  • $280 million per year for Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants, to help cities, including Arizona’s border communities, with planning, construction, and design of treatment works for wastewater systems. 
  • Increased funding and program flexibilities to invest in community water projects that address aging infrastructure and improve water quality through the State Revolving Loan Funds.
  • Increased investment to address recruitment, training, and retention challenges facing the water and wastewater utility workforce.
  • Significant investments in technical assistance and new and emerging technologies that result in cleaner, safer, and more reliable water.