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$50.5 million coming to Arizona for drought relief efforts

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Posted at 5:22 PM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 10:43:04-05

PHOENIX — As climate change continues to put a strain on Arizona's water supply, the federal government is sending millions of dollars our way to strengthen and secure the state's water future.

As part of the Infrastructure and Investment Act signed by President Biden, more than $50 million is being invested in Arizona to protect the state's water supply.

$50 million is going toward the implementation of the 2019 Drought Contingency Plan, or DCP. Under the DCP, 100,000 acre-feet of water along the Colorado River will be created or conserved every year. For perspective, that's enough water for 200,000 households annually.

$500,000 is coming to the Valley for a study along the Verde River and Bartlett Lake.

The Verde River Sediment Mitigation Project looks to assess whether it's feasible to enlarge the reservoir system.

The Salt River Project and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation started working on the study eighteen months ago, looking at ways to bring more water to those living and moving to the Valley.

Ron Klawitter, a Principal for the Salt River Project, says they've identified an option that could expand the ability to capture and deliver water from the Verde River, providing as much as 345,000 households with water on an annual basis.

This option includes raising the height of Bartlett Dam as much as 97 feet, increasing the water storage capacity on the Verde River. The study is expected to take at least four years.

In total, more than $8 billion will be allocated for western water infrastructure, including Arizona, in the next five years.