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Public Statements

A Centennial Salute to the Salt River Project

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. President, as this Congress deals with the large and complex challenges facing our Nation in the 21st century, we do well to remember local histories and the great public endeavors of our people that have helped make America great.

In my home State of Arizona, we remember and celebrate the vision and commitment that, 100 years ago on February 7, launched an organization that helped a great metropolis bloom in the desert.

A century ago, the Salt River Project (SRP) was formed by settlers to sustain central Arizona's small farming communities through times of drought, flooding, and heat. Through the SRP, with the assistance of the Federal Government, many people worked to build the great Theodore Roosevelt Dam which sits on the Salt River, east of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The dam, completed a year before statehood, stood as the largest masonry dam of its day. It provided the lifegiving water and flood protection that enabled downstream communities to flourish and grow.

People of all walks and faiths, including Native Americans and immigrant Italian stonemasons, helped build the roads, pack the mules, drive the wagons, and carve the great blocks that created Roosevelt Dam. In 1911, Teddy Roosevelt, then years past his final term, came to Arizona to dedicate the dam and the great labors that made the project a reality.

The water supplies assured by the structure nurtured a growing economy, and hydroelectric facilities were developed to power our growth. The dam crated Roosevelt Lake, a major conservation and recreational resource enjoyed by so many of our residents and visitors.

Over the years through the SFP's efforts, other water storage facilities were constructed helping to provide the water, power, flood control, conservation and recreation that sustains our communities and one of the Nation's most vibrant economies.

Today, the SRP serves some 780,000 electric customers and supplies water to more than 1.5 million people. It is the Nation's oldest multi-purpose reclamation project, the largest water supplier in central Arizona and a major public power utility, helping to sustain a quality of life and economic vigor of which Arizonans are richly proud.

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I offer this tribute to the Salt River Project and the people it represents. Arizona looks forward to a future for the SRP that is as successful as its past and to ensuring that our great public works continue to serve the best interests of our great people in the hundred years to come.

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