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Press Release



Salazar Announces $11.8 Million Cooperative Agreement with White Mountain Apache Tribe to Build Reliable Water System


Funding Important Step in Obama Administration’s Work to Advance Indian Water Rights Settlements


10/14/2011


Contact: Adam Fetcher, (DOI) 202-208-6416
Patricia Cox (BOR) 623-773-6214


WASHINGTON DC - Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that $11.8 million has been awarded to the White Mountain Apache Tribe as part of a self-determination construction cooperative agreement to greatly expand the current water delivery system to meet the critical needs of the tribe. The agreement, between the tribe, the Department of the Interior and its Bureau of Reclamation, will fund planning and design activities for the Miner Flat Project on the tribe’s reservation in Arizona.

“This funding agreement is an important step toward developing a safe, dependable, long-term water supply for the White Mountain Apache Tribe who, for too long, has had to depend upon shallow, unreliable wells,” Secretary Salazar said. “Advancing Indian water rights settlements like this one is a critical piece of President Obama’s efforts to empower tribal governments and help them build stronger and more prosperous communities.”

"One of Reclamation's priorities is to ensure that Native communities can make the most of their water allocations," said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor. "This agreement will not only help provide a permanent water supply and economic security for the tribe, but it will also provide certainty to water users throughout the lower Colorado River Basin."

The agreement covers a three-year period for the initial planning, environmental compliance, feasibility engineering and design of the Miner Flat Project on the reservation. The completed project will include construction of a concrete dam, pumping plants, a water treatment plant and water distribution pipelines on the White River in southeast Navajo County, Ariz. The project is estimated to create over 120 direct and indirect jobs.

Under the terms of the agreement, the tribe will contract for preparation of design specifications, cost estimates and environmental documents. Reclamation will perform technical oversight of the agreement, ensure adherence to all federal requirements including labor, safety and environmental regulations and provide other technical assistance as requested by the tribe.

The tribe was authorized to contract for the work under the White Mountain Apache Tribe Rural Water System Loan Authorization Act as amended by the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. The Act contains four Indian water rights agreements, totaling more than $1 billion, that will deliver clean drinking water for the Taos Pueblo and Aamodt case pueblos in New Mexico; as well as the Crow Tribe of Montana and the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona. The agreements will build and improve reservation water systems, rehabilitate irrigation projects, construct a regional multi-pueblo water system, and codify water-sharing arrangements between tribal and neighboring communities.

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