Opinion: Tribes develop roadmap for future of Colorado River

Anne Castle, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science, and T. Darryl Vigil, a member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, discuss the Ten Tribes Partnership:
Today, the Colorado River is experiencing the worst drought in a century and one of the worst in over a thousand years. As we look ahead, we recognize that a growing imbalance between water supply and demand and competing needs will require that we carefully manage every drop of this precious resource. Leaders within Indian Country and within the Colorado River Ten Tribes Partnership are helping to develop a roadmap for the future of the basin. Navigating that roadmap requires collaboration, research, adoption of best practices, and commitment for this basin to thrive despite the challenges we face.

Working strongly in our favor is the recent collaboration with all of the basin’s stakeholders, including tribal nations, individual tribal leaders, governments and public interest groups since December of 2012, when Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation released the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study. The study confirms that, without future actions, the basin faces a range of potential imbalances between supply and demand. The water challenges facing the Southwest will affect us all, but it is critically important that we continue to honor our commitments to tribal nations.

The time to move forward in Indian country is now. Interior recently announced the next steps we will take together to address the long-term water challenges identified in the Basin Study. One of the most important next steps is for Reclamation to focus on Tribal water issues and needs.

Get the Story:
Anne Castle and T. Darryl Vigil: Tribes Chart Collaborative Future for Colorado River (Indian Country Today 9/18)

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