As Arizona's drought gets worse, some lawmakers are looking to draw water from the Mississippi River. But not everyone is on board with that idea.

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona's drought has lawmakers looking into drawing water from the Mississippi River to be used here in the desert.

"This kind of project would be looking 20 years down the road," said Republican Rep. Tim Dunn from Yuma. 

Dunn sponsored House Concurrent Memorial 2004, which got bipartisan support in the Arizona legislature, and urges Congress to study a plan for a pipeline that would take water out of the Mississippi River near Davenport, Iowa. 

"A pipeline that follows the interstate across the United States and would be pumped up into the Green River which would flow into the Colorado River system, ultimately into Lake Mead," Dunn said. "And that would be distributed by the seven basin states."

Neither the cost of the pipeline or the cost of studying the idea is known. But those who support the measure say it would be beneficial for both ends of the pipeline since the Mississippi River is known to flood. 

"Stop the flooding on the east coast, put that water in a pipeline and deliver it to the west coast where we have a drought," Dunn said. 

But some environmental groups like the Sierra Club say this is a bad plan. "You would have environmental impacts on the Mississippi side," said Sandy Bahr, President of the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter. 

Bahr says that's because the flooding along the Mississippi Delta is part of the area's ecosystem, and also fertilizes the land along the river for farming. 

"And then on our end, whenever you introduce a different type of water you have all types of potential for introducing invasive species, different water chemistry. You know the list goes on," Bahr said. 

Instead, Bahr says we should conserve the water we already have. "We need to think about what is sustainable in the Sonoran Desert. What kind of growth and development. What kind of agriculture."

And while the Arizona legislature supports the idea, the concurrent memorial passed here only calls for communication with state and federal officials. It's still unclear if the project or the study will get any traction in Washington. 


Copyright 2021 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Locations

Recommended for you