Water right settlements: $33.4 million allocated to AZ tribes

Signing of the San Carlos Irrigation Project bill. The project will receive rehab funds under the bipartisan infrastructure law.
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November 2, 2023 — A bipartisan infrastructure law will allocate $33.4 million to ensure a consistent water supply for Arizona tribes. This initiative is spearheaded by Senator Kyrsten Sinema, with contributions from Senator Mark Kelly.

The Details of the Allocation.

This funding is a part of the “Indian Water Rights SettlementsOpens in a new tab.“component of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  They are formal agreements guaranteeing certain tribes in Arizona access to clean and dependable water sources. Overall, the law designates $2.5 billion to cover all the existing agreements. Out of this, $33.4 million is dedicated to three primary initiatives in Arizona:

  • $22.5 million – Ak-Chin Indian Water Community Rights Act.
  • $9 million – Southern Arizona Water Rights Settlement – Farm Extension.
  • $1.5 million – San Carlos Apache Tribe (Distribution System).
  • $400,000 – San Carlos Irrigation Project Rehab.

Statements from the Senators.

Senator SinemaOpens in a new tab. emphasized the long-term significance of this bipartisan infrastructure law, highlighting its potential to reinforce water security for the tribes.

Senator Kelly mentioned the government’s commitment to ensuring tribal water settlements are honored and pointed out that this bipartisan law plays a role in fulfilling that promise.

Collaborative Efforts.

The crafting of this bipartisan law was a collective effort. Senator Sinema Opens in a new tab.collaborated with Senator Rob Portman from Ohio, and Senator Kelly, along with senators from various parties, played pivotal roles.

Several prominent groups and associations across sectors expressed their support for this law, showcasing its widespread endorsement.  They include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, The National Association of Manufacturers, The AFL-CIO, The National Retail Federation, The Bipartisan Policy Center, North America’s Building Trades Unions, the Outdoor Industry Association, The American Hotel and Lodging Association, The National Education Association, as well as hundreds of mayors across all 50 states.


President Coolidge signing bill authorizing the San Carlos Irrigation ProjectOpens in a new tab., including construction of the Coolidge dam.  June 7, 1924.  Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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