That Mississippi River Pipeline? Bureau Of Reclamation Weighed In About A Decade Ago

Published: Monday, May 24, 2021 - 4:44pm
Updated: Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 7:47am
Audio icon Download mp3 (1.05 MB)

The Arizona Legislature wants to look into the feasibility of pumping water from the Mississippi River to Arizona.

But the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has already studied the idea, and weighed in on the project in 2012.

The agency studied factors such as cost, legal issues, power use and the amount of time the project would take.

A report estimated the project could cost up to $14 billion; the timetable was around 30 years.

“This is not a new idea. The concept of a massive pipeline to transport water from the Midwest into the Colorado River Basin, has been proposed in the past and evaluated, and the feasibility really isn’t there,” said Kim Mitchell of Western Resource Advocates.

She said the Legislature would be better off providing guidelines to help manage rural groundwater supplies.

“Now, a number of important water bills were introduced into this legislative session that would have provided communities with the tools to manage and protect groundwater, yet they never received a hearing in committee," Mitchell said. 

Arizona still owes the federal government about a billion dollars for the Central Arizona Project, which pumps water from the Colorado River to the Phoenix and Tucson areas.