'Smart water' tech in the West to get investments under new bill

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A new bill is trying to put more money toward ‘smart water’ technology and infrastructure in an increasingly parched Southwest.

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The bill, introduced by Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., and Rep. John Duarte, R-Cali., looks to provide $50 million in EPA funding and grants for community water systems that can identify leaks, evaluate pipe integrity and provide more innovative water storage.

“We need to attack our Western water crisis on multiple fronts,” Gallego said. “Our bipartisan bill does just that by working to increase use of smart water technologies so Arizonans across the state can use their water more efficiently.”

Arizona’s drinking water, wastewater and dams each received a C- grade in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2021 national infrastructure ranking. The Society estimated that Arizona alone would need more than $16 million in water infrastructure over the next 20 years.

Numerous mayors from across Arizona signaled their support for the bill. Tucson Mayor Regina Romero emphasized that the funding would help thirsty cities make water conservation a top priority.

“For over a decade, I have been advancing water policies that support Tucsonans’ water future,” Romero said. “For that reason, I proudly support the ‘Water Infrastructure Modernization Act.’ This visionary legislation embraces smart technologies and innovative solutions, providing communities with the financial tools to move towards a future where water conservation and effective management are paramount.”

This is a developing story. Tune in to 12News for more information.

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