Washington, D.C. – The Senate last night passed a bill introduced by U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) to fully implement the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Settlement; an agreement that clarifies the use of certain water settlement funds by the White Mountain Apache Tribe for construction of the Miner Flat Dam.
Specifically, the bill states the Interior Department has the authority to use previously-authorized funds from the 2010 White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Settlement to address cost overruns on the dam project stemming from unanticipated geologic issues. This paves the way for the dam’s completion, which is essential for the tribe to use its water.
“It’s no small task to get water legislation benefitting Arizona through Congress so this represents a significant victory for the state,” said Flake, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power. “This bill allows the much-needed White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Settlement to move forward providing certainty for Arizona water users and enabling the state to better plan for future water challenges.”
“The federal government owes it to the White Mountain Apache Tribe to meet its obligation under the water rights settlement that Congress enacted in 2010,” said McCain, a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “This legislation paves the way for the completion of the Miner Flat Dam and Reservoir, which are key to protecting the Tribe’s water supply. I urge our colleagues in the House to act swiftly and pass this much-needed legislation.”