Click the link to read the article on the AZCentral.com website (Debra Utacia Krol). Here’s an excerpt:
Five Arizona tribes celebrated after President Joe Biden signed legislation that secured water rights, funding to develop water infrastructure and historically important tribal lands. Some tribes have been pushing for these bills for years, including the Colorado River Indian Tribes, which worked for more than two decades to secure the right to lease a portion of its Colorado River allotment. The bills were passed in the waning days of the 117th Congress. The Colorado River Indian Tribes Water Resiliency Act, the Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act, and the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act were signed by Biden Jan. 5.
The Colorado River Indian Tribes, known as CRIT, had sought to lease part of its 719,248 acre-feet Colorado River allotment for more than 20 years, said CRIT Chairwoman Amelia Flores. The tribe has saved a portion of its allotment using conservation measures and will use the revenues from leasing it to help stabilize its economy and enable water service extensions to tribal members, she said. CRIT, which operates a large farm and casino, also plans to improve its canal system and conserve even more water. More importantly, Flores said, these measures will enable the tribe to help save the life of the river.
“The river’s the person. The river can’t speak for itself. And we as stewards need to step up and protect the river,” she said.
The Mojave and Chemehuevi have lived in the Colorado River Valley and the surrounding lands for millennia, and in recent years, Navajo and Hopi people relocated to the area. All four tribal cultures hold water as the source of life…Further up the river, the Hualapai Tribe finally secured a small water settlement that will provide a huge boost to its economy and community. The settlement provides 4,000 acre-feet from the river and authorizes the construction of a pipeline and other infrastructure to deliver the water to the tribe’s biggest enterprise, Grand Canyon West. Water will also be delivered to homes…The 2,300-member tribe had pushed for more than a decade to secure the allotment from the Colorado River. The tribe’s lands lie on the south side of the Grand Canyon along 108 miles of the river…
In eastern Arizona, the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act amends a 2010 water rights settlement for the 15,000-member tribe. It authorizes federal funding and extends the time the tribe needed to complete its rural water system and Miner Flat Fam project.