New Water Advisory Council Discusses Federal Support for Western Drought

Aug. 19, 2022

On August 8, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema announced the creation of her new Water Advisory Council to “develop solutions in response to Arizona’s worsening drought conditions.” Members of the new council gathered at Hoover Dam for the announcement and to discuss the $4 billion in drought mitigation funding included in the Inflation Reduction Act recently signed by President Biden. According to a recent article, the Act outlines three areas for the US Bureau of Reclamation to direct these funds: provide funding to pay users not to divert water (critical in the near term for farmers who rely on Colorado River water), incentivize conservation and efficiency programs such as drip irrigation, and support the restoration of riparian ecosystems and habitat impacted by drought. According to Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke, who is a member of Senator Sinema’s water council, “It’s a perfect time” for this funding to come through, in light of the recent $1 billion investment in water from the state and the unprecedented near-term challenges associated with Colorado River shortage. The Water Advisory Council consists of 21 key stakeholders representing agriculture, utilities, conservation groups, Tribes, water officials, and academic experts. WRRC Director Sharon B. Megdal will serve as a member of the advisory council.