ALBUQUERQUE (PRWEB) September 18, 2013
U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle announced today a collaborative agreement for the Bureau of Reclamation to work with the Colorado River Basin Tribes Partnership (Ten Tribes Partnership) in a tribally-focused effort to address projected water supply and demand imbalances in the Colorado River Basin.
This effort, implementing commitments identified in the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study published last December, will focus specifically on issues facing the tribal communities in the basin and their water resources.
"The Colorado River is the essential foundation for the physical, economic and cultural sustenance of the tribes in the Ten Tribes Partnership, and it is critical that we work together to address existing and future threats to the adequacy of supplies and the River itself," said Castle. "A hallmark of success and progress on difficult Colorado River issues has been collaborative efforts among various parties with vested interests in the River, and the agreement announced today is an excellent example."
"The Colorado River Basin Tribes Partnership is an important stakeholder in water use for multiple purposes including irrigation, recreation, wildlife and habitat restoration, municipal, industrial, mining, power generation, as well as cultural and religious activities," said T. Darryl Vigil, chairman of the Ten Tribes Partnership.
Castle announced the agreement today at a joint event with key representatives of the Ten Tribes Partnership in Albuquerque. Reclamation and the Ten Tribes Partnership will collaborate on the study on the role of tribal water rights that is expected to be completed by December 2015.
Castle says Interior and the Partnership will allocate financial resources and technical expertise for the effort – including today's commitment by Reclamation to provide $100,000 to jumpstart the study effort. Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor says ensuring meaningful tribal participation with financial assistance from the agency's Basin Study Program will only help to improve the effort.
"I am pleased that we have been able to build upon our work with the Ten Tribes Partnership to ensure tribal issues continue to be addressed in Colorado River Basin Study activities," Connor said. "Reclamation's commitment to meet the nation's obligations to Indian Country continues to be strong and unwavering."
The 2012 Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study, the most comprehensive study of future supplies and demands on the Colorado River ever developed, was produced collaboratively with a wide array of stakeholders including the Ten Tribes Partnership. The study's findings projected significant shortfalls between expected water supplies and demands in the Colorado River Basin in coming decades. The study is widely acknowledged as a call to action for all who rely on the Colorado River. Building upon recent successful efforts to improve water management in the Basin, recent efforts have focused on enhancing the resiliency and sustainability of the Basin's limited resources.
The Colorado River Basin Tribes Partnership began in 1992 and is made up of ten tribes: the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, Cocopah Indian Community, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, Jicarilla Apache Nation, Navajo Nation, Quechan Indian Tribe, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation. For more information on the Partnership visit: http://www.crwua.org/colorado-river/ten-tribes.