Western Arizona Tribes Could Lease Colorado River Water To Phoenix Areas Thirsty For Development
The 4,500 people of the Mohave, Chemehuevi, Navajo and Hopi tribes who belong to the Colorado River Indian Tribes might eventually lease some of their share of the river's water to the rest of Arizona for the first time. That would allow more development in places like suburban Phoenix.
But the plan is fraught with legal and logistical complications, AZCentral reports.
The CRIT use a mid-20th century canal system that wastes a fair amount of water, but they have been working with Salt River Project to make their systems more efficient. That would allow them to send water to Phoenix and other markets.
The CRIT's entitlement is about 24% of the 2.8 million acre-feet (a water measurement one acre wide and one foot deep) Arizona is allotted annually from the river, or more than double the 300,000 acre-feet that Nevada is allotted annually.
Any plans to move water off the remote reservation face a number of obstacles, such as debate within the tribes about whether this is a good idea, and the expensive infrastructure that moving the water would require. State and federal governments would need to approve the transfer of the water.