Photo by Lauren Kaljur/News21 Photo by Lauren Kaljur/News21

The nearly $20 million investment comes from the Biden Administration’s infrastructure law and will bolster up water systems in rural parts of the state.

Rural and indigenous Arizonans will get a crucial investment in clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, due to Rep. Greg Stanton’s advocacy and the recent passage of Joe Biden’s infrastructure law. 

Stanton, a Phoenix-area Democrat, spearheaded legislation in 2020 to create an Arizona water authority to improve access to clean water for rural and Indigenous communities. That authority will now get $18.5 million via Biden’s recently passed infrastructure law, Stanton announced in a press release last week. 

The funding will go towards the creation of water pipelines, wastewater treatment plants, water filtration treatments, and efforts to protect against flooding in rural and Native American communities. 

“For far too long, small, rural and tribal communities in Arizona haven’t gotten their fair share of federal infrastructure dollars,” Stanton said in a statement. “It’s only right that the largest infrastructure investment in a generation includes funds for these communities to protect and conserve the Southwest’s most precious resource.”

The first project to be funded under the water authority is already under development: A water pipeline on the Pascua Yaqui reservation which will improve water security for the community and support future growth.

Stanton worked closely with state, local, and Tribal officials to identify projects and advocate for the new round of funding. Here’s how that $18.5 million will be spent:

  • $3.5 million for construction of a waterline in Maricopa
  • $3 million for construction of a new wastewater treatment system for the Middle Verde District of the Yavapai-Apache Nation
  • $2.25 million to make wastewater treatment plant improvements in Buckeye
  • $2.25 million to install backup generators for Pima County’s water reclamation facility to ensure its operations are not disrupted
  • $2.25 million to install a reclaimed water pipeline and improve an existing infiltration gallery at the Queen Creek Restoration Project in Superior
  • $1.5 million to construct the WF Killip Elementary School Regional Flood Detention basin in Flagstaff to reduce post-fire flooding in the Sunnyside neighborhood
  • $1.2 million to continue construction of the Flagstaff Downtown Flood Lateral Tunnel to provide flood protection for the area
  • $1.155 million to make improvements to the water filtration treatment plant in Kearny
  • $772,500 for water system improvements in Quartzsite
  • $578,000 to complete the water pipeline for Pascua Yaqui Tribe started last year.

Stanton’s efforts were praised by Tribal leaders and local officials.  

“The $3.5 million in [environmental infrastructure] funding from the Army Corps will allow our rapidly growing city to interconnect our water pipeline that will ultimately make it a more efficient and less costly system to operate,” Maricopa Mayor Christian Price said in a statement. “We are extremely grateful for Congressman Stanton’s leadership on this and other infrastructure issues.”

The new water authority will ultimately invest $150 million in Arizona water infrastructure projects included in spending plans by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

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