Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and John McCain (R-AZ) introduced the Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act to settle the water rights claims of the Hualapai tribe.
This bill would ratify a settlement agreement negotiated between the tribe, the state of Arizona and several water providers within the state. Through the agreement, the tribe will have Colorado River rights equal to those of other water users. The tribe would also accept 4,000 acre-feet of water annually from the river, which would ensure that the tribe’s previous water claims would not potentially displace water used to service other customers relying on the Colorado and Verde Rivers.
The Hualapai Tribe will also receive authorization for infrastructure projects that would provide a reliable water source at Grand Canyon West and Peach Springs to help create jobs for the tribe and others in the area. Grand Canyon West currently employs approximately 300 tribe members and 300 other individuals.
“This landmark settlement keeps Arizona on the path of proactive water management needed to avert a shortage in Lake Mead and maintain reliable access to water throughout the state,” Flake said. “I am especially pleased that in settling this claim, the Hualapai Tribe will finally gain the ability to put its water right to use and grow its economy.”
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs gathered to hear testimony on the bill Sept. 14.
“Completing the Hualapai Tribe’s water settlement is a top priority of the tribe and I’m pleased to cosponsor this legislation,” McCain said. “It will help put the tribe on a path towards safeguarding their water supplies while growing their local economy.”