Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake have reintroduced a bill that would settle claims by the Hualapai Tribe to the Colorado River. Supporters say the deal is crucial for economic development on the reservation. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.
The settlement between the Hualapai, federal government and other water users would allocate 4,000 acre feet, or 1.3 billion gallons, per year to the tribe. A 70-mile pipeline would deliver the water from Diamond Creek to Peach Springs and the Hualapai-owned Grand Canyon Skywalk and connecting Grand Canyon West resort.
The tribe has limited access to groundwater, and says the $170 million project would benefit tourism and boost employment. Hualapai officials say the resort employs 600 people with more than a million visitors each year.
However, Interior Department officials last year testified that the project’s costs would exceed estimates, and don’t justify the relatively small amount of water it would provide.