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«Item type text; Electronic Dissertation Authors DeJong, David Henry Publisher The University of Arizona. Rights Copyright © is held by the author. ...»

-- [ Page 45 ] --

agreement for the tribe to build the federal portion of the on-reservation CAP irrigation delivery system under Indian Self-Governance. Reclamation committed $386 million—to be indexed for cost increases—to construct the on-reservation portion of the CAP delivery system. This led to the creation of the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project as a tribal program using federal funds to construct the backbone delivery system and laterals to irrigate tribal land scheduled to receive CAP contracted water. Within a year, the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement was published, outlining four alternatives for constructing a water delivery system across the reservation.744 In the meantime, Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) offered to assist the CAWCD in bringing about a legislative solution to the Gila River water settlement beginning in the spring of 1998. A framework for settlement was discussed, although Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt expressed concern that if an agreement could not be worked out before the end of the Clinton administration “it could be a very, very long time” before one might be concluded. Rita Pearson, Director of the ADWR, feared litigation could “take decades in the courts” and present risks to both tribal and state interests. Since a court could rule the Pima had priority rights to the waters of local watersheds (Salt, Gila and Verde), metropolitan cities and the Salt River Project favored reallocating CAP water to settle the Indians’ claims. Important allies were added to the list of settlement supporters.745 On 744 Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement: Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project, Prepared for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation—Lead Agency and Bureau of Indian Affairs—Cooperating Agency (Prepared by EcoPlan Associates, Inc., October 1996).

745 Rita Pearson, Gila River Indian Community, Issues Concerning Claimed Water Rights, October 1, 1998. Cities in the Phoenix metropolitan area understood that if they joined in the negotiation process they could help frame a settlement that would be less injurious to their interests. George Britton, deputy city manager of the City of Phoenix, argued in 2004 that “virtually no congressional member is going to support a settlement that is going to do damage to the existing domestic water supply.” Anything else would result 326 July 30, 1999, Babbitt published in the Federal Register a notice modifying previous CAP allocations to “assist in the resolution of outstanding Indian water rights claims.”746 Settlement of Gila River Indian Community claims, however, was now being tethered to the repayment by the CAWCD of the construction costs of the CAP system, an issue that was the subject of its own lawsuit between the CAWCD Board and the federal government. In November, the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed a Maricopa County Superior Court ruling acknowledging reserved rights applied to groundwater but that “a reserved right to groundwater may only be found where other waters are inadequate to accomplish the purpose of a reservation.”747 Kyl, meanwhile, moved toward the front of water negotiations and, in July, introduced an amendment to a Defense Department appropriation bill that prevented Babbitt from reallocating any CAP water. Congress approved of the bill on July 20, placing Kyl as the central figure in bringing about a final negotiated and legislatively approved water settlement.748 The Senator then introduced S. 3231, the Arizona Water in the “iron fist” of the cities “causing tremendous political agitation.” Quoted in Bonnie G. Colby, John E. Thorson and Sarah Britton, Negotiating Tribal Water Rights: Fulfilling Promises in the Arid West. (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2005), p. 47.

746

Federal Register, 64:146, July 30, 1999, p. 41457. The reallocation to the Gila River Indian Community would be as follows:

102,000 acre-feet from the federal government; 17,800 acre-feet relinquished by the Harquahala Valley Irrigation District; 18,600 acre-feet from the Roosevelt Water Conservation District; and 17,000 acre-feet from ASARCO. All of these allocations would be reallocated to the Gila River Indian Community as part of a comprehensive settlement of all claims.

747 In re the General Adjudication All Rights to Use Water in the Gila River System and Source, Arizona Supreme Court Nos. WC-90IR through WC-90-0007-IR Consolidated and WC-79-0001 through WC-79-0004, Maricopa County nos. W-1, W-2, W-3, and W-4 Consolidated, November 19, 1999. Seven months later, John E. Thorson, special master in the Gila River General Stream Adjudication, recommended that the court limit Pima claims to the Gila River only. Thorson argued Indian allottees’ water rights were settled in the 1935 Gila Decree. See Ibid. Case Nos. W1-203, Report of the Special Master, Appendix B, Proposed Order, Maricopa County Superior Court, Phoenix, Arizona, June 30, 2000. Six months later Thorson issued a second recommendation encouraging the court to reject Gila River Indian Community claims to Salt River water other than the 1,490 acres of reservation land that had rights under the Haggard Decree of 1904. See Ibid. Case Nos. W1-203, Second Report of the Special Master, Maricopa County Superior Court, Phoenix, Arizona, December 28, 2000.

748 An Act Making Supplemental Appropriations for the fiscal years ending September 30, 2001. 115 Stat. 155. Kyl politically tied the secretary’s hands because Babbitt refused to assure the Senator that he would not reallocate water absent a water settlement for Gila River.





327 Settlements Act of 2000. Although the bill died at the end of the legislative session, it raised the hope that a final settlement was imminent.749 Concurrently, litigation continued and in March 2002 the Arizona Superior Court ruled in In re the General Adjudication of All Rights to Use Water in the Gila River System and Source (W-1-203) that the 1935 Gila Decree covered upstream agricultural wells but that the Gila River Indian Community could not claim more water out of the Gila River than what was granted it by the Gila Decree of 1935. In addition, the court opined that the tribe could not claim any additional water from the Salt River other than what had already been allocated by the Haggard Decree.750 On February 4, 2003, the Gila River Indian Community agreed to a water settlement proposal. Three weeks later Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain (R-AZ) introduced S. 437 (the Arizona Water Settlements Act of 2003) in the Senate with Representatives J. D. Hayworth (R-AZ), Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Ed Pastor (D-AZ) introducing H.R. 885 in the House.751 The Senate approved of the bill on October 10, 2004, with the House following suit on November 17. On December 10, 2004—with a simple stroke of the pen and without political fanfare—President George W. Bush signed into law the Arizona Water Settlements Act of 2004, which, in addition to the Gila River Indian Community Water Settlement Act (Title II), also included adjustments to the 749 A Bill to provide for adjustments to the Central Arizona Project in Arizona and for other purposes, S. 3231,106th Congress, 2d session, October 24, 2000.

750 In re the General Adjudication of All Rights to Use Water in the Gila River System and Source (W-1-203), March 7, 2003. See note 97 supra for the court’s reliance on the special master in this ruling. In March of 2005, the U.S. District Court in Tucson accepted the argument of the Gila River Indian Community that the subsurface flow and surface flow of a river are connected. For the first time the subflow of the Gila River was covered by the Gila Decree. See US v. Gila Valley Irrigation District, No. CV31-0059-TUC-SRB, March 29, 2005.

751 “Gila River Tribe approves water settlement with U.S.,” Arizona Republic, February 6, 2003. The settlement agreement is more than 2,600 pages in length and includes thirty-five parties, including the Gila River Indian Community, the United States, the state of Arizona, thirteen irrigation districts, sixteen cities, two corporations, and one water company. The bills were introduced in both Houses on February 25, 2003.

328 CAWCD repayment contract for constructing the CAP (Title I), amendments to the Southern Arizona (Tohono O’odham) Water Settlement Act of 1984 (Title III), and provisions for an adjustment to the San Carlos Apache water settlement (Title IV).

The Arizona Water Settlements Act brought an historic conclusion to one of the most egregious and long-standing Indian water disputes. This negotiated agreement approved by Congress provides water that the courts had refused to confirm. It also provides funds to rehabilitate the San Carlos Irrigation Project and buy down the expense of costly CAP water for tribal farmers, something the courts could never have provided.752 In so doing, the Damoclean sword that hung over the state for a century was sheathed.

The largest water settlement act in North American history, the Gila River Indian Community water settlement act restores a total annual tribal water budget of 653,500 acre-feet.753 Few people have insight into how the Pima agricultural economy was decimated a century ago. As a result, there is a limited understanding of how important the Gila River water settlement act is to the cultural integrity and economic well-being of the Pima. This act enables the Pima to not only practice agriculture once again but also restore their ability to expand agricultural production as they would have had their rights to water not 752 The Arizona Water Settlements Act of 2004, Public Law 108-360, 118 Stat. 3479. The settlement bill still requires Gila River adjudication approval by the court, an act that must occur before January 1, 2008.

753 Sources of water include the following: 156,700 acre-feet of groundwater (existing); 125,000 acre-feet of Gila Decree water (existing); 5,900 acre-feet of Haggard Decree water (existing); 173,100 acre-feet of CAP Indian priority water (existing); 18,600 acrefeet of Roosevelt Water Conservation District (RWCD) CAP water (new); 4,500 acre-feet of RWCD surface water (new); 18,100 acre-feet of Harquahala Valley Irrigation District CAP water (new); 17,000 acre-feet of ASARCO CAP water (new); 20,000 acre-feet of Salt River Project stored water (new); 4,500 acre-feet of Chandler reclaimed water (new); 2,230 acre-feet of Chandler premium exchange water (new); 5,870 acre-feet of Mesa reclaimed water (new); and 102,000 acre-feet of CAP non-Indian agricultural water (new), for a total of 653,500 acre-feet of water. The Gila River Indian Community then exchanged 8,960 acre-feet of its CAP water for 11,200 acre-feet of Chandler reclaimed water and 4,500 acre-feet of Chandler “contributed reclaimed water.” In addition, the tribe exchanged 23,540 acre-feet of its CAP water with the City of Mesa for 29,400 acre-feet of Mesa reclaimed water.

329 been disturbed a century ago. Today, the Gila River Indian Community finds itself on the

–  –  –

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