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1st solar panels installed over the Casa Blanca canal on Gila River Indian Reservation

Last year, the Gila River Indian Community and US Army Corps of engineers agreed to place solar panels over the Casa Blanca canal. This week, officials celebrated the beginning of installation. 

The panels shield water from evaporation and improve water quality by limiting aquatic growth, while generating renewable energy for tribal irrigation facilities.

In a social media post, Gila River Indian Community officials said the move demonstrates a commitment to caring for sacred land by using multipurpose infrastructure solutions.

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Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.