Bill would direct Army Corps to prioritize drought response

By Jennifer Yachnin | 04/19/2024 06:40 AM EDT

The legislation would also authorize up to $35 million annually to enhance projects like stormwater retention, water storage and aquifer recharge.

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) introduced drought legislation Thursday. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Congress could direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize water conservation and storage efforts over other responsibilities — such as flood control or combating invasive species — during periods of drought, under a new bill authored by Western lawmakers.

Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona on Thursday introduced the “Drought Resilient Infrastructure Act,” which aims to grow the agency’s ability to address drought.

The bill is co-sponsored by independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Democratic Sens. Alex Padilla of California, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Jacky Rosen of Nevada.


Arizona Reps. Greg Stanton and Ruben Gallego, both Democrats, and Republican Juan Ciscomani introduced a House version of the bill.