The Chairwoman of the Colorado River Indian Tribes will address Arizona lawmakers and Tribal leaders at the 27th Annual Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day Wednesday at the Arizona State Capitol. Chairwoman Amelia Flores will deliver remarks during the Joint Protocol Session between 11am and noon at the Arizona House Chambers.
The address comes weeks after US Senator Mark Kelly introduced an historic bill co-sponsored by Senator Kyrsten Sinema that would give CRIT the authority to lease a portion of its Arizona allocation for off-reservation use within Arizona.
The Colorado River Indian Tribes Water Resiliency Act of 2021(S.3308) would clear the way for CRIT to lease water that was previously used on the reservation. CRIT says this authority would enable the Tribes to “allocate their water resources to protect natural habitats along the Colorado River and provide a short-term water supply for entities experiencing drought or shortages across the state.”
“CRIT comes to the table as an entity physically located on the Colorado River with the ability to lease actual Colorado River water, as opposed to water that only exists on paper,” a press release by the Tribes said. “CRIT has the ability thanks to ongoing conservation efforts.”
CRIT has the first priority decreed water right to divert 719,248 acre-feet per year to serve lands in both Arizona and California. It has the resources to help maintain water levels in Lake Mead and help provide direct drought relief to Arizona communities at the same time.
In addition to Chairwoman Flores, other potential speakers at the event include Chairwoman Ona Segundo of the Kaibab Band of Paiutes, President Jonathan New of the Navajo Nation and former NASA Astronaut John Herrington.