April 18, 2024

Gallego Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Expand Army Corps Efforts to Combat Drought

WASHINGTON – Today, Reps. Ruben Gallego (AZ-03), Greg Stanton (AZ-04), and Juan Ciscomani (AZ-6) introduced the Drought Resilient Infrastructure Act to provide new resources and authorities through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to support communities experiencing long-term drought conditions. Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ),  Alex Padilla (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) introduced the Senate version.

“As Arizona communities continue to face historic drought conditions, we must ensure federal agencies have the resources and authorities they need to respond. Our Drought Resilient Infrastructure Act will help meet our unique water needs in the West,” said Rep. Gallego.

The Drought Resilient Infrastructure Act enables the Army Corps to prioritize water conservation or storage efforts at Corps facilities, directs the Army Corps to prioritize these conservation efforts above other Corps missions (like flood control or combating invasive species) during times of drought, and provides new Army Corps infrastructure programs to help states, counties, cities, tribes, and other water users construct projects that respond to or prevent worsening drought conditions.  

"As Arizona and the west continue to face a historic drought, it’s essential to have all hands on deck to combat the problem,” said Sen. Kelly. “This legislation will make sure the Army Corps steps up to put their vast water infrastructure resources and expertise to work for states, tribes, and communities as they respond and adapt to drought conditions.”  

“As Arizona faces record drought conditions, we’re working together to deliver innovative solutions securing our water future. Our new bill expands our water storage capabilities to ensure a lasting water supply for generations to come,” said Sen. Sinema.  

“It’s no exaggeration to say the future of Arizona—and the entire American Southwest—depends on how we respond to this historic drought. Arizona communities are doing their part to conserve water, but we need the federal government to step up,” said Rep. Stanton. “Our bill makes sure Arizona communities can leverage the expertise of the Army Corps and access more federal resources to improve drought resilience.”

“With Arizona facing an unprecedented drought, proper infrastructure and water management systems are crucial. This bipartisan effort provides the Army Corps of Engineers with the needed resources to mitigate the effects of the drought, further prioritize water conservation efforts, and upgrade existing infrastructure to better serve our communities,” said Rep. Ciscomani.    

“As the West recovers from years of severe drought, we must ensure that states can rely on the U.S. Army Corps’ support for drought resilience projects without delay,” said Sen. Padilla. “The climate crisis demands that we stay prepared for flood control, conserve water, and streamline federal investments in drought-stricken communities during the dry years that stress our water supply. This legislation would also support tribes across the Colorado River Basin while protecting public safety and water rights.”

“As New Mexico continues to grapple with the impacts of long-term drought and aridification, I’m focused on ensuring that our government is using every tool available to protect our water sources. Expanding the Army Corps of Engineers’ ability to protect our rivers is a big part of that. I’m proud to introduce this legislation, building on our recent investments in water infrastructure projects across our state, to ensure the long-term health and vitality of the water our communities depend on,” said Sen. Heinrich.  

“As Nevada and the West confront historic drought, we must implement innovative solutions to conserve water,” said Sen. Rosen. “That’s why I’m helping introduce legislation to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize water conservation and drought resilience projects at Corps facilities. I’ll keep pushing for drought resilient infrastructure at the federal level.”


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates more than 700 dams, maintains 900 harbors, and12,000 miles of inland waterways. As various regions of the country experience drought conditions, the Army Corps of Engineers is well-positioned to play an important role to help better store sources of drinking water, manage navigable waterways during times of drought, and fund infrastructure improvements that help communities and water users better prepare for and respond to drought conditions. Yet in many instances, the Army Corps of Engineers lacks the necessary authorities to modify the operation of existing Corps facilities or invest in infrastructure improvements in response to drought conditions. The Drought Resilient Infrastructure Act gives the Army Corps of Engineers the necessary tools to respond to drought conditions and better manage scarce water resources.  

This legislation gives the Army Corps new authorities on the areas of water conservation measures, emergency drought operations, and drought resilience projects. Additionally, the bill amends and funds existing authorities and programs to increase water supply, reduce the risk of floods and other natural hazards, and support Tribal communities.  

Click here to read the text of the bill.