California aids Tachi Yokut Tribe with water transfer deal

California's Department of Water Resources and the Tachi Yokut Tribe finalized a landmark agreement to transfer over 600-acre feet of water to support the Tribe's farmlands.
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  • California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Tachi Yokut Tribe finalized a water transfer deal.
  • The transfer will provide over 600-acre feet of water to the Tribe’s farmlands north of Tulare Lake.
  • This is a significant step in supporting the Tribe’s agricultural and economic development.
  • The agreement is seen as a model for future collaborations between the state and Tribal entities.

June 13, 2024 — On Tuesday this week, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR)Opens in a new tab. announced a successful water transfer agreement with the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe. The transfer will provide much-needed water to the Tribe’s farmlands north of Tulare Lake.

This collaborative effort, involving the Tulare Lake Irrigation District, ensures a reliable water supply for the Tachi Yokut Tribe and addresses immediate and long-term water demands.

Quotes from Key Figures.

DWR Director Karla Nemeth emphasized the state’s commitment to providing water to communities in need:

“California remains committed to getting water to communities that need it most. This successful effort is a direct result of meaningful consultation and communication with our Tribal partners and the hard work of our staff to ensure we can move water to places in critical need.”

Tachi Yokut Tribal Council Chairman Leo Sisco expressed gratitude for the collaboration and highlighted the positive impact of the agreement:

“This monumental accomplishment began with opportunity, determination, belief and the decision to create a better future for our Tribe for generations to come. We would like to thank DWR, Tulare Lake Irrigation District, and especially DWR’s Office of Tribal Affairs Executive Manager Anecita Agustinez for this enormous achievement.”

Chairman Sisco further emphasized the significance of the water rights acquisition for the Tribe’s sovereignty and future development:

“This transfer represents a historic moment as it is believed to be one of the few, if not only, times a Tribe has acquired contractual water rights such as those from Tulare Lake.”

Economic and Social Impact.

The transferred water, sourced from the Empire West Side Irrigation District and Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District, is crucial for Tachi Farms, LLC, owned by the Tachi Yokut Tribe. The water will support the farm’s mission to meet the Tribe’s social, economic, educational, and health needs.

Beyond ensuring a stable water source, the transfer is expected to stimulate the Tribe’s economy by bolstering agricultural operations and fostering partnerships with other businesses.

Strengthening Tribal Relationships.

Anecita Agustinez, Executive Manager of DWR’s Office of Tribal Affairs, reaffirmed the department’s commitment to collaborating with Tribes:

“DWR remains committed to strengthening our relationships with Tribes and working to balance water resources management to meet the needs of Tribal communities statewide.”

Image via California DWROpens in a new tab..

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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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