Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
ALBUQUERQUE US Department of the Interior announced Thursday a collaborative agreement for the Bureau of Reclamation to work with the Colorado River Basin Tribes Partnership in a tribe-focused effort to address projected water supply and demand imbalances in the Colorado River Basin.
Darryl Vigil (Jicarilla) Chairman of the Ten Tribes Partnership, Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle, George Arthur (Navajo) President of Colorado River Water Users Association
This effort, implementing commitments identified in the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study published last December, will focus specifically on issues facing the tribal communities in the basin and their water resources.
“The Colorado River Basin Tribes Partnership is an important stakeholder in water use for multiple purposes including irrigation, recreation, wildlife and habitat restoration, municipal, industrial, mining, power generation, as well as cultural and religious activities,”
said T. Darryl Vigil, chairman of the Ten Tribes Partnership.
The Colorado River Basin Tribes Partnership began in 1992 and is made up of ten tribes of the 29 Tribes with reservations within the Seven Colorado River Basin States with vested water rights in excess of 2,900,000 acre feet to the Colorado River. They are:
Chemehuevi Indian Tribe
Cocopah Indian Community
Colorado River Indian Tribes
Fort Mojave Indian Tribe
Jicarilla Apache Nation
Quechan Indian Tribe
Southern Ute Indian Tribe
Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe, and
Ute Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.
“A hallmark of success and progress on difficult Colorado River issues has been collaborative efforts among various parties with vested interests in the River, and the agreement announced today is an excellent example.”
said Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle.
Reclamation and the Ten Tribes Partnership will collaborate on the study on the role of tribal water rights that is expected to be completed by December 2015. Castle says Interior and the Partnership will allocate financial resources and technical expertise for the effort including today's commitment by Reclamation to provide $100,000 to jump start the study effort. Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor says ensuring meaningful tribal participation with financial assistance from the agency's Basin Study Program will only help to improve the effort.
"I am pleased that we have been able to build upon our work with the Ten Tribes Partnership to ensure tribal issues continue to be addressed in Colorado River Basin Study activities,"
The 2012 Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study, the most comprehensive study of future supplies and demands on the Colorado River ever developed, was produced collaboratively with a wide array of stakeholders including the Ten Tribes Partnership. The study's findings projected significant shortfalls between expected water supplies and demands in the Colorado River Basin in coming decades.
The study is widely acknowledged as a call to action for all who rely on the Colorado River. Building upon recent successful efforts to improve water management in the Basin, recent efforts have focused on enhancing the resiliency and sustainability of the Basin's limited resources.
posted September 20, 2013 11:10 am edt