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News Release

Office of Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ-9)

Arizona Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly and Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) called for the Bureau of Reclamation to address the $13 million budget shortfall necessary to complete the Rural Water Based System for the Water Mountain Apache Tribe—critical for the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s access to a safe and reliable water supply.

“If the Rural Water System is delayed or fails for any reason, the tribe will continue to face drinking water shortages and all of the health risks, including COVID-19, associated with a lack of access to a safe and reliable water supply,” wrote Sinema, Kelly, and O’Halleran.

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The White Mountain Apache Tribe Rural Water System Loan Authorization Act of 2008 intended to cover the design and environmental impact statement of the Rural Water System. Approximately $12 million was made available to the tribe, but fell short of the estimated $25 million needed to complete.

In their letter, Sinema, Kelly, and O’Halleran stressed that, if the Bureau of Reclamation is unable to draw from its fiscal year 2021 budget to fund the $13 million shortfall, the Bureau of Reclamation include sufficient funding in its fiscal year 2022 budget request.

Sinema has long worked to advance commonsense solutions to secure Arizona’s water future. Last year, Sinema passed into law language from the DRIP Act, which equips communities in Arizona, and across the country, to address drought conditions and strengthen water supplies. Additionally, Sinema helped get the Drought Contingency Plan across the finish line in the Senate. Sinema also cosponsored the bipartisan Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act, which allows Arizona cities, tribes, and water providers access to critical funding to secure the state’s water future.

Click HERE to read the letter.