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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Dec 21, 2017.
Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2017
This bill modifies and ratifies the Hualapai Tribe water rights settlement agreement negotiated between the tribe, the United States, Arizona, and others, thus satisfying the tribe's claims for groundwater and surface water rights to water in Arizona, including the Verde River, the Bill Williams River, and the Colorado River.
The bill outlines the tribe's water rights, including the right to divert, use, and store 4,000 acre-feet of agricultural priority water of the Central Arizona Project that was previously allocated to non-tribal agricultural entities, but retained by the Department of the Interior for reallocation to tribes in Arizona pursuant to the Central Arizona Project Settlement Act of 2004.
The Bureau of Reclamation must construct the Hualapai Water Project. The project must be designed to divert, treat, and convey at least 3,414 acre-feet of water per year from the Colorado River for municipal, commercial, and industrial uses on the Hualapai Reservation.
The bill establishes the: (1) Hualapai Water Project Account for constructing the project; and (2) Hualapai OM&R Trust Account for the operation, maintenance, and replacement charges associated with the project.
The bill provides for land to be added to the reservation and taken into trust for the benefit of the tribe. In the future, land located outside the reservation may only be taken into trust by the United States for the benefit of the tribe through an act of Congress.
The bill outlines: (1) waivers, releases, and retentions of claims by the tribe and the United States under the settlement agreement; and (2) a limited waiver of sovereign immunity by the United States and the tribe with respect to certain claims.