Federal Water Policy
Federal Water Policy
While many of the decisions about our water future lie in the hands of state and local decision-makers, there are also ways that we work with the federal government to promote smart water policies. Here are some highlights of our Federal work.
- Tribal Water Infrastructure: As an organization that works with businesses that are invested in water security in the Southwest, and that partners with many American Indian tribes, we have collectively supported water projects in concert with myriad tribal partners. In May 2021 we sent this business sign-on letter to Members of Congress urging support of Senate and House resolutions to fund tribal water infrastructure projects. In March 2022 we sent a letter to Congress encouraging support and passage of S. 3308 which authorizes the Colorado River Indian Tribes to assume greater agency over their Colorado River allotment, allowing them to engage in partnerships, if they so choose, that improve flexible management of Colorado River water within Arizona and the Lower Basin to help meet today’s challenges. In July 2022 the companion bill to S. 3308 passed in the House and we are working to make sure it has a hearing and vote in the Senate. These resolutions highlight the issues tribes face including oftentimes no piped water systems connected to homes, available water does not meet minimum standards, deteriorating infrastructure, and challenges in maintaining upkeep of water systems. We are working with the Water and Tribes Initiative on this outreach – see more about their work in the sidebar.
- Federal Climate and Drought Investment: Working to protect our rivers and safeguard them for the future does more than help the environment; the west’s water systems are economic drivers at a time we need to put people back to work. We signed this letter supporting the $4 billion investment in western water which was included in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. With the final passage of the bill, the Bureau of
Reclamation will have substantial funding to advance voluntary, multi-year reductions in water diversions and use, system conservation projects aimed at reducing water uses and/or providing
environmental benefits, and ecosystem and habitat restoration projects in response to drought.
- Drought Contingency Planning: In January 2019, Governor Ducey signed the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) into law. This landmark legislation allowed the passage of a system-wide plan to help protect and stabilize the Colorado River and Arizona’s water supplies. The business voice was critical in supporting the passage of the DCP legislation. Companies from all regions and sectors of Arizona’s economy played an active role in advocating in support of the legislation to secure Arizona’s water future. The passage of the DCP legislation in Arizona would not have been possible without the strong support of nearly every sector of water-users statewide, including the business community. Read the letter from 23 Chambers and business voices urging the passage of this critical legislation here. And read more about our work with corporations to raise nearly $2 million to support the DCP process and Lake Mead here.
New Water and Tribes Initiative Report on Universal Access to Clean Water
In April 2021 the Water and Tribes Initiative released a new report Universal Access to Clean Water for Tribes in the Colorado River Basin. According to the report, “Access to clean water is a human right. It is essential for people to live with dignity and foundational to virtually every other human right. Nevertheless, many American Indian and Alaska Native communities still lack access to clean water. By some estimates, 48% of households on Native American reservations do not have clean water or adequate sanitation. Native homes are 19 times more likely than white households to lack indoor plumbing,” Read the full report with recommendations and solutions here.