Arizona representative, senators introduce Hualapai water settlement
KINGMAN – In an effort to secure water rights for the Hualapai people, which Hualapai Tribal Chairman Dr. Damon R. Clarke says is essential to their future, Arizona elected officials Martha McSally, Kyrsten Sinema, and Tom O’Halleran are working to solidify a water settlement for the Hualapai Tribe.
The bill was introduced May 1 by U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-District 1) in the House of Representatives and in the Senate by Senators McSally and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona). The bill was previously introduced by U.S. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain.
“Water is the lifeblood of communities throughout Arizona and across the region, and without it, economic development and growth is stalling. Today, I am proud to support Arizona families and tourism by introducing the Hualapai Water Rights Settlement Act,” O’Halleran said in a press release from McSally’s office. “This important legislation will give the Hualapai Tribe access to water from the Colorado River, and it will allow Peach Springs and Grand Canyon West to grow and create good-paying jobs in the area. I am pleased to see members of our delegation coming together in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to address this issue.”
According to the release, the Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2019 would codify an agreement between Arizona and the U.S. government for the Hualapai Tribe’s federally-reserved water rights. That includes the right to receive 4,000 acre-feet of water per year from the Colorado River.
“Grand Canyon West, located on the Hualapai reservation, brings more than 1 million visitors each year to Arizona,” McSally said in the release. “The Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act codifies the agreement made between tribe and government to sustain high levels of tourism and employment in the area. It is critical this bill is sent to the president’s desk quickly not only to boost the Hualapai Tribe’s economic self-sufficiency, but to provide fundamental long-term water security necessary for the Tribe’s population on the Reservation.”
Sinema wrote that she is proud to work closely with the Hualapai Tribe “to finalize a landmark water rights settlement that will provide the Hualapai people with water security and grow Arizona’s economy.”
“The Hualapai Tribe has worked for years to secure its water rights, and this critical legislation will strengthen our sovereignty and self-reliance for generations,” Clarke said. “We are grateful for the continued work of Arizona’s congressional delegation, especially Sen. Martha McSally, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Rep. Tom O’Halleran and Rep. Paul Gosar. They have all been steadfast in their support of the Hualapai Tribe. As the Senate and House move this legislation forward, we await the day when we can finally secure these rights that are essential to the future of the Hualapai people.”
Information provided by the office of Sen. Martha McSally