Secretary Haaland Visits Arizona to Highlight Investments in Tribal Communities, Water and Drought Resilience

WASHINGTON (February 23, 2022) — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland traveled to Phoenix, Arizona this week to underscore the Department of the Interior’s commitment to Indian Country and the historic investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address the Western water crisis. As part of her visit with the Arizona congressional delegation, Secretary Haaland announced the Department’s plan to fulfill settlements of Indian water rights with funding from the Law.

Select press coverage is below:

Axios: Interior to pay $1.7B to fulfill tribal water rights settlements

Sixteen tribal nations will receive $1.7 billion as part of Indian water rights settlements, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced Tuesday. Why it matters: Over the years, at least 34 tribes have turned to settlements to resolve conflicts with the federal government over water rights. Tuesday’s announcement is aimed at funding infrastructure for Native Americans to store and transport water so they no longer have to suffer from lack of access. Details: The funding will “help deliver long-promised water resources to Tribal communities … and a solid foundation for future economic development for entire communities dependent on common water resources,” the Department of Interior (DOI) said in a statement.

Arizona Mirror: Deb Haaland touts infrastructure money for tribal water rights settlements

During her visit to Arizona, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the agency’s plan to fulfill settlements of Indian water rights claims using money from the infrastructure spending plan that President Joe Biden signed into law last year. “Water is a sacred resource, and water rights are crucial to ensuring the health, safety and empowerment of Tribal communities,” Haaland said in a press release.

Arizona Republic: Interior secretary outlines funding for Arizona tribal water settlements, other projects

In her first visit to Arizona as secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland touted water, drought resilience and other projects that will be funded by the recently passed infrastructure law. Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo, met with Arizona tribal leaders Monday and visited the Gila River Indian Community Tuesday morning. During the meetings, she discussed water delivery projects, funding for the Drought Resilience Plan and tribal water projects such as fulfilling Indian water settlements, some of which have waited for funding for decades.

KNAU: Interior Department allocates $1.7 billion for tribal water rights settlements

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has announced $1.7 billion in federal funding for tribal water infrastructure across the country. She met Tuesday with leaders of the Gila River Indian Community and other officials about settled water claims. Haaland says the funds will come from last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. It’ll help deliver long-promised water to tribes that’ve reached federal settlements approved by Congress. Many tribes are legally entitled to water but don’t have the means to access it. According to Haaland, the money, including an influx of $224 million in Arizona alone, is designed and finalize all tribal settlements while updating critical infrastructure.