News for Monday, March 25, 2019 | More News
With Water Leasing Vote, Colorado River Indian Tribes Will Seek Consequential Legal Change
For Immediate Release
Colorado River Indian Tribes Approve Water Ordinance
(PARKER, AZ.) Voters of the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) approved Protect and Prosper: the CRIT Water Ordinance today by an overwhelmingly favorable percentage of 63% according to unofficial, preliminary results.
The Tribal Council unanimously referred the Water Ordinance to the voters on November 8th, 2018 and held numerous forums, information sessions, and tours of the reservation to inform the membership about water issues and to encourage passage of the referendum.
The CRIT Water Ordinance does not affect or change the CRIT commitment to leave 50,000 acre-feet of its allocation per year for three years, beginning in 2020, for use in Arizona in Lake Mead to prop up the Lake elevation as part of the Intra-Arizona drought contingency plan. CRIT started making water available for Lake Mead in 2016 under the Reclamation Pilot System Conservation Program and is continuing to do so today with the full support of the membership. The total amount of CRIT water to be left in Lake Mead is increasing the elevation by over two feet.
The passage of the Referendum gives the Tribal Council a clear mandate to seek federal legislation to authorize CRIT to lease part of its Arizona allocation of water for off-reservation use. CRIT looks forward to having similar flexibility for how their water is used that is available to other Tribes in Arizona and throughout the western United States.
CRIT Chairman Dennis Patch said, “Our water and our land is our Tribes’ most important natural resources and deserve special care. This referendum was a successful effort of our people to understand the value and importance of our natural resources. Our members have shown they understand that it is time to make our water work for all of us. With this responsibility in mind, our Council will continue to work on ways to protect and maximize full economic benefits for our people.”
Vice Chairman Keith Moses said, “This is only the first step, but it is an important one. The results of the referendum permit Council to begin to take those steps necessary to fully develop our water entitlement so that others cannot come and take it from us in the future.”
In 2018 there was an unsuccessful attempt to recall all 9 Council Members over water issues. The Protect and Prosper Referendum represents the fulfillment of campaign promises made by the Council that the membership would be provided the opportunity to learn more about the CRIT water rights and the Colorado River and would be given a chance to express their opinions and to vote on major water initiatives.
The CRIT tribal council looks forward to working with officials in the State of Arizona and the Arizona congressional delegation in the coming months on federal legislation that will overcome the historic barriers to CRIT being able to use its full water entitlement.
CRIT has the first priority decreed water right to divert 719,248 acre-feet per year to serve lands in both Arizona and California. However, system inefficiencies in the BIA Colorado River Irrigation Project and a lack of infrastructure for agriculture development prevent the Tribes from fully utilizing its water. The Council is optimistic that funding received from water leasing can be used to build and improve water infrastructure and improve the economic opportunities on the reservation.
About the Colorado River Indian Tribes:
March 2019 Administrative Calendar
CRIT ENROLLMENT OFFICE
Notice to Update Addresses to All CRIT Tribal Members
CRIT Tribal members please contact the CRIT Enrollment office to update your mailing addresses as soon as possible. If you have any questions you may direct them to their staff at (928) 669-1240, 1241 or 1304.
CRIT HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICE
The CRIT Multi-Hazard Mitigation DRAFT Plan Flyer to the Public
CRIT Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan Update December 2018
Region IX Tribal Hazard Mitigation Plan Review Tool