ADWR Director Joins Tribal Leaders In Celebrating Historic Water Rights Settlement

ADWR Director Joins Tribal Leaders In Celebrating Historic Water Rights Settlement

September 2, 2023
ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke

ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke joined tribal and federal officials on August 30 to help celebrate the Hualapai Tribe’s historic $312 million water rights settlement at the Tribe’s spectacular Grand Canyon West development near Peach Springs.

The Director congratulated Tribal leaders on getting the agreement to the finish line. 

"A permanent solution to declining water supplies on the reservation is the ultimate outcome of this water settlement and the Tribe deserves nothing less," said Buschatzke.

In 2017, the ADWR Director testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in support of the then-proposed settlement, calling it “a great step forward.”

“Resolving these claims through settlement is a strategic priority for the State, not only because it will avoid the cost and uncertainty of litigating the claims, but it will provide certainty to all water users in the state regarding available water supplies in the most expeditious manner possible,” he told the Senate panel.

He testified again in June 2019, this time before a House Natural Resources subcommittee, reiterating that the “State of Arizona strongly supports this legislation.”

Grand Canyon West is situated on the Hualapai Reservation at the West Rim of the Canyon

The 2022 settlement agreement was the result of over a decade of negotiations involving the Tribe, the federal government, the State of Arizona, and others.

In addition to a 4,000 acre-foot Colorado River allocation, the agreement established a $312 million trust fund to be used to develop water infrastructure on the Hualapai reservation.

That infrastructure will allow the Tribe to deliver sufficient water to construct a residential community near Grand Canyon West. As a result, Grand Canyon West employees would no longer be required to endure a daily commute of two hours to work and two hours back to their homes.

Also attending the event was Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau, who said that “today we celebrate a settlement that was achieved by true collaboration – with Department of the Interior officials, Tribal representatives, stakeholders and other water users – to finally deliver water to the Hualapai Tribe and its future generations.”