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US Senate advances water bills for tribes in Arizona

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
The U.S. Senate has advanced three bills that would improve some Arizona tribes' access to water amid an unrelenting drought.

The U.S. Senate has advanced three bills that would improve access to water for some tribes in Arizona amid an unrelenting drought.

One measure approved Monday would give the Colorado River Indian Tribes in northwestern Arizona the ability to lease water from the Colorado River. The tribe based in Parker has one of the largest allocations of Colorado River anywhere, and it’s among the most secure.

Another bill would settle the Hualapai Tribe’s claim to water from the Colorado River and give the tribe $180 million for the infrastructure to deliver it to the tribe’s main tourist center at Grand Canyon West and to residents.

The third bill would amend a 2010 water rights settlement for the White Mountain Apache Tribe in eastern Arizona to authorize additional federal funding for a rural water system and dam. The bill also would extend the deadline to complete the projects.

The bills now head to the U.S. House.