Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke on Wednesday will express Arizona’s strong support for an important tribal settlement before a subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee.
Director Buschatzke is scheduled to testify before the House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife on H.R. 2459, the Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2019.
The federal legislation approves a settlement agreement involving the tribe and state parties that includes providing the tribe with 4,000 acre-feet per year of Central Arizona Project water from the Colorado River. The settlement also includes the planning, design and construction of the “Hualapai Water Project,” which includes a pipeline capable of delivering 3,414 acre-feet per year to the tribal reservation at Peach Springs and beyond to the tribe’s major tourist attractions at Grand Canyon West.
Approval by Congress would authorize an appropriation of $134.5 million for construction of the Project, $32 million for operation, maintenance and replacement costs by the Tribe, and $7 million for use by the Secretary of the Interior in operating the water project before title is conveyed to the Tribe. The funding also provides technical assistance to prepare the Tribe for the operation of the Project.
For the Hualapai Tribe, the settlement provides a renewable water supply and the infrastructure to convey that water supply from the Colorado River to critical areas on the Tribe’s reservation.
“The State of Arizona strongly supports this legislation,” said Director Buschatzke.
“Half of the 22 federally recognized Indian tribes in Arizona still have unresolved water rights claims. Resolving these claims through settlement is a priority for the State.”
This appearance is the second time this year that Director Buschatzke has testified before the House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. On March 28, he joined other representatives of the Colorado River Basin States, as well as Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman, speaking on behalf the successful effort to pass the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan.
The Director also testified on Capitol Hill in support of the Hualapai Tribe water-rights settlement on December 6, 2017.
Who: ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke
What: Testimony on behalf of H.R. 2459, sponsored by Rep. Tom O’Halleran of Arizona
Where: Before the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife of the House Natural Resources Committee
When: 2 p.m. (EDT); 11 a.m. (MST)