CRIT signs historic water lease agreement under federal bill

The Colorado River Indian Tribes has signed the first agreement under a historic federal bill passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Biden. On Friday, CRIT Chairwoman Amelia Flores and tribal leaders were joined in Parker by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, U.S. Senator Mark Kelly, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs and other officials, where the occasion was marked and the agreement was signed next to the river.

The Colorado River Indian Tribes Water Resiliency Act was made law in 2022. Previously, the tribe could only use its sizable water rights on the reservation itself. The law changed that, allowing the tribe to lease portions of its allotment to other water users who desperately need it, especially in this time of drought.

At the ceremony on Friday, leadership from the Colorado River Indian Tribes, the State of Arizona, and the United States Department of the Interior signed the agreements, with tribal members and other invited guests present. They were joined by officials from the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

“The agreements will move CRIT one step closer towards strengthening its sovereignty over its water resources to improve the lives of future generations of CRIT members while protecting the life of the river,” a spokesperson for CRIT said in a press release.

The tribe will generate new revenues from these agreements, with plans help the tribe invest in economic development, improve services provided by tribal government to its people, and improve the irrigation canal system, which loses water through leakage.

CRIT Chairwoman Amelia Flores said, “These agreements we are signing confirm and support what we have always done; make decisions based on what is best for the life of the river and for our people.”

“This is a significant event in the history of CRIT,” she added. “These agreements clear the path for CRIT to be finally recognized as a central party in all future decisions regarding the Colorado River.”

Interior Secretary Haaland said, “I am thrilled to be here to celebrate this historic agreement between the US Department of the Interior, the Colorado River Indian Tribes, and the State of Arizona that will for the first time give the Colorado River Indian Tribes the ability to lease, exchange, or store a portion of its Colorado River entitlement. The agreement will enable CRIT to continue leading with collaborative strategies in support of the resilience of the Colorado River.”


  1. Keep up the good work, Amelia!

  2. Should have thrown hobbs into the river

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