The Hualapai Tribe’s famous “Skywalk” attraction overlooking the Grand Canyon
Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke will testify on Wednesday, Dec. 6, before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on legislation that would provide the Hualapai Tribe of northwestern Arizona with 4,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water annually.
In 2016, the Tribe agreed to a settlement of its long-standing claim to Colorado River water. The legislation – S. 1770, introduced by Arizona Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain — secures the 2016 agreement.
The agreement ensures that the tribe’s previously outstanding water claims could not potentially displace water used by other customers that also rely on the Colorado and Verde rivers. As a result, the agreement helps provide certainty for water users throughout Arizona.
In addition to its claim to Colorado River water, the Tribe also has a claim to water of the Upper Verde River watershed.
At the time of the settlement agreement, Director Buschatzke noted that the settlement of tribal water-rights claims “has long been a top strategic priority for the State.”
“The resolution of the Hualapai Tribe’s water-rights claims, including its claims to Colorado River water, is a major step to providing long-term certainty to water-users throughout the State,” said Buschatzke.
“This settlement will allow the Hualapai Tribe to enjoy the assurance of a secure and dependable water supply to its communities. Senator John McCain and Senator Jeff Flake deserve great credit for sponsoring this settlement legislation in the Senate.”
The Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on the proposed legislation — known as the Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act — is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. (MST).