Water is the lifeblood of the real estate development community, and U.S. Sen. Martha McSally has played a key role in two major initiatives that involve this precious commodity in Arizona.

REIAC Southwest presents McSally as part of its Distinguished Speaker Series Dec. 17 at Camelback Golf Club, 847 N. Mockingbird Lane, Scottsdale. A special video introduction will be made by Gov. Doug Ducey.

The event begins at 4 p.m. with registration and networking. The program is from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., with a networking reception to follow.

McSally is working to move the Rio Reimagined project forward to revitalize the Salt River as it snakes through the Valley. In March, McSally sent a letter to the EPA asking it to include the project as the 20th designee in its Urban Waters Federal Partnership.

The project, originally created decades ago by Arizona State University students, would span across a 58-mile stretch of the Salt-Gila river corridor through Maricopa County including six cities and two Native American tribal communities. Former Arizona Sen. John McCain provided the leadership on the initiative.

“We are honored that Senator McSally has chosen to take time from her busy schedule to speak to our group of senior real estate executives,” said Mark Singerman, President of the REIAC Southwest Chapter and Vice President/Regional Director-Arizona for The Rockefeller Group. “Her focus and support for the Rio Reimagined initiative could present many future real estate investment and development opportunities for the Valley.”

McSally was also a key player in shepherding the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan through Congress. McSally helped secure unanimous support from all 14 Basin State Senators and pushed Congress to act quickly to authorize the comprehensive plan, which aims to keep a critical water source – the Colorado River – from reaching hazardously low levels over the next few years.

McSally chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power in the Senate. She previously represented Arizona’s second congressional district for four years in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Prior to serving in Congress, she served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring in 2010 as a full colonel. She is the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat and first to command a fighter squadron in combat in U.S. history.

REIAC members and invited guests are free. Non-members are $40 per person or $100 for a group rate of four people. Register here.