Kelly, Sinema and O’Halleran Introduce Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act
Legislation will deliver Hualapai Tribe’s water agreement of approximately 4,000 acre-feet per year
Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema and Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) introduced the Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act – legislation ratifying the Hualapai Tribe’s Colorado River water settlement agreement, which will deliver approximately 4,000 acre-feet of water per year to the Tribe.
“In Arizona, water access is critical for continued economic growth and job creation,” said Kelly. “As we navigate a historic drought, our bill will provide long-term water security to Hualapai members and deliver water to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a major tourist attraction located in the Hualapai community.”
“We’re working to ensure the Hualapai Tribe’s economic and water security by delivering the Tribe’s water rights agreement which will help strengthen water systems, secure the tribe’s water future, and create jobs,” said Sinema.
“I’m proud to join Senators Sinema and Kelly to introduce an update to the Hualapai Water Rights Settlement that takes into account tribal sovereignty, the protection of our most precious natural resource, and the growing communities of Peach Springs and Grand Canyon West. As a champion of this legislation for the past several years, I strongly support this commonsense fix and look forward to work with my Arizona delegation colleagues to get this over the finish line,” said O’Halleran.
“The Hualapai Tribe has been working for more than 12 years with the State of Arizona and other State parties, and with the Department of the Interior, to secure our water rights,” said Tribal Chairman Dr. Damon R. Clarke. “The Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2022, when enacted, will provide Colorado River water that will serve the critical needs of our present and future tribal population and provide for economic opportunities on our Reservation. Enactment of this legislation is vital to our future.”
The Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act would approve Hualapai Tribe’s water rights claims, as well as other allotees in Arizona, and authorize construction of a water project related to the water rights claims – delivering 4,000-acre feet of water per year.
This legislation establishes the Hualapai Water Trust Fund Account and the Hualapai Water Settlement Implementation Fund Account, with $180 million and $5 million respectively authorized until expended. These accounts are for construction, operations and maintenance, technical assistance costs, and environmental compliance costs associated with the pipeline from the Colorado River.
The Hualapai Tribe has been working for a decade to secure an agreement with the U.S. Departments of State and Interior, and this legislation from Kelly, Sinema, and O’Halleran represents a strong step to deliver Hualapai Tribe’s water agreement.
The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law that Sinema led, Kelly helped shape, and O’Halleran helped pass fully funds all currently-authorized Indian Water Rights Settlements.