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January 30, 2020

Office of Rep. Kirkpatrick Sends Letter to Department of Interior Urging Implementation of DCP Provisions

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick led a bipartisan letter from the Arizona Congressional Delegation urging the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to ensure that provisions of the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act (DCP), and related federal funding subsequently provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, be implemented in a timely manner consistent with Congressional intent. Kirkpatrick was joined on the letter by Senator Krysten Sinema, Senator Martha McSally and Representatives Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), David Schweikert (AZ-06), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), and Greg Stanton (AZ-09).

“The Arizona drought contingency plan is the only plan among the seven basin states that required the adoption of state legislation.  An essential provision of the state legislation was an agreement by central Arizona farmers to forgo their legal entitlement to Colorado River surface water in exchange for development of a groundwater well construction infrastructure project, of which roughly half of project costs ($20-25 million) are expected to come from federal sources and the other half from state and local sources. This provision was critical to reaching agreement in Arizona on the plan, which, in turn, was necessary for completion of the seven basin state agreements and subsequent Congressional passage of drought legislation,” wrote the Representatives.

 The Arizona Congressional Delegation unanimously supported the passage of the Drought Contingency Plan and it was signed into law on April 16, 2019. State and local funding sources for half the project costs have been secured, but no federal funding has been provided to date. The delegation supported language in the appropriations bill that designates $20 million in federal funding to water conservation activities, including well construction, in areas that are experiencing extreme drought. This letter urges the department to allocate appropriated funding toward the DCP project.

“Thousands of Arizona farms and workers need certainty that federal funding will be provided so that the project can be completed and that their farming operations will continue without interruption or delay. The $20 million in federal funding provided in the recent appropriations bill was designed for that very purpose. We appreciate that the Department and Bureau have multiple priorities, and we request that you make substantial funding for this project a top priority consistent with congressional intent,” wrote the Representatives.

“I want to thank Congresswoman Kirkpatrick for her steadfast leadership and the entire Delegation for its strong support of Pinal County farmers and their families. This funding provides the means to fulfill commitments made to farmers in the Arizona Drought Contingency Plan and I urge the Bureau of Reclamation to promptly direct its use it for that purpose,” said Pinal County Supervisor Stephen Q. Miller.     

“On behalf of the Pinal County irrigation districts we represent, I want to thank Congresswoman Kirkpatrick and the rest of the Arizona Congressional Delegation for their continuing efforts to secure federal support to fully implement the terms of the Drought Contingency Plan and provide the necessary infrastructure to sustain farm operations in central Arizona,” said Paul Orme, General Counsel to Central Arizona Irrigation and Drainage District, Maricopa Stanfield Irrigation and Drainage District, New Magma Irrigation & Drainage District, Electrical District No. 3 of Pinal County, Queen Creek Irrigation District, and Electrical District No. 4 of Pinal County.  


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