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House approves bill to authorize Colorado River tribes to lease conserved water

Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that may help provide Arizona with more water. Sponsored by Democratic Reps. Raul Grijalva and Greg Stanton, the bill authorizes the Colorado River Indian Tribes to lease water gained through conservation.

The tribes will most likely save and collect that water by slowing irrigation to farmlands.

Devin Rhinerson is an attorney for the tribes. He says the money gained will be used to upgrade water infrastructure.   

“Over time, the tribe will then bring that land back into production and it’s going to be operating on a more efficient basis,” Rhinerson said. “And their agricultural economy and the economy of the western part of the state is really going to be able to thrive because of that.”

Rhinerson says the amount of water that will be provided is still to be determined. The bill now awaits passage in the Senate.

Nick Sanchez is a senior producer for KJZZ's The Show. He joined the station as an intern during the spring of 2022, where he developed a passion for audio storytelling in the Valley.