Monday, June 12, 2017

BREAKING: New Colorado River Water Conservation Agreement Binds Phoenix/Arizona/Fed/Gila River Indian/Walton Family Foundation (READ)

(Update 6/13 5:15pm: The Phoenix City Council approved the agreement unanimously this afternoon.)

The Walton Family Foundation is entering into an agreement with federal/state/local/tribal governments to help conserve Colorado River Water.  The Phoenix City Council is set to approve its portion of the agreement tomorrow.

The various governments and the Foundation are paying the Gila River Indian Community $175/acre-foot to give up its rights to 40,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water this coming year.  The water will stay above Hoover Dam and will stabilize the levels in Lake Mead. The Foundation from the founders of Wal-Mart are kicking in $1M, while Phoenix, Arizona and the U.S.contribute $2M each.

The Gila River Indian Community has already approved the agreement, and the Phoenix memo says that similar agreements in future years are anticipated.

The Walton Family Foundation states (in its Annual Report) that it made $21.6M in grants in 2016 to Colorado River water-related groups and projects.

The City of Phoenix and the Gila River Indian Community also entered into a 2nd agreement this year that leaves 3,800 acre-feet of Phoenix's water in the Central Arizona Project Canal, which the Indian Community will divert into the Gila River. That water will be stored underground and Phoenix will receive credit for it for future needs.

When that 2nd agreement was approved, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton called it a "win-win for everyone" and said "solving our most difficult long-term water challenges like the over-allocation of Colorado River water will require innovation and collaboration, Today we are embarking on a creative new way for the Gila River Indian Community, Phoenix, and others to help build drought resiliency together to protect the Colorado and Lake Mead for the long run."

(This article was updated at 5:15pm to include details of the 2nd agreement and the Stanton quote.)

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