Summary: S.291 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (11/26/1991)

San Carlos Apache Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 1991 - Directs the Secretary of the Interior to reallocate an additional specified amount of water for the San Carlos Apache Tribe (the Tribe) from the following sources under specified terms and conditions: (1) water that is not required for delivery to the Ak-Chin Indian Reservation under Federal law; and (2) Central Arizona Project (CAP) water having a municipal and industrial priority previously allocated to Phelps Dodge Corporation, and the city of Globe, Arizona. Requires the Tribe or its lessee to pay any water service capital charges or municipal and industrial subcontract charges for any water use or lease from the effective date of this Act through FY 1995.

Requires the Secretary, when determining the allocation and repayment of CAP costs as provided in a certain contract between the United States and the Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD), to exclude from CAWCD's repayment obligation any costs associated with the water reallocated from the Ak-Chin Reservation allocation (and thus no longer allocable to CAWCD). Makes such costs nonreimbursable. Declares that water reallocated to the San Carlos Reservation from the Ak-Chin Reservation shall constitute partial satisfaction of the San Carlos Tribe's claims for water in a specified proceeding, if certain authorizations (later in this Act) to release water claims do not become effective.

Directs the Secretary to designate for the benefit of the Tribe such active conservation capacity behind Coolidge Dam on the Gila River as the Secretary is not using to meet the obligations of the San Carlos Irrigation Project (SCIP) for irrigation storage. Limits any water stored by the Tribe to the dam's first spill water.

Directs the Secretary to execute a specified Agreement which establishes, with specified exceptions and subject to the management plan established under this Act, the Tribe's permanent right to: (1) the on-Reservation diversion and use of all groundwater beneath its Reservation; and (2) all surface water in all tributaries within the Reservation to the mainstreams of the Black River, the Salt River below its confluence with the Black River, the San Pedro River, and the Gila River, including the right to fully regulate and store such water on the tributaries. Preserves the claims of the Tribe and the United States, as trustee for it, with respect to parties not subject to the waiver authorized by this Act.

Declares that any exchange under this Act of Gila River water for water supplied by the CAP shall not amend, alter, or conflict with certain exchanges authorized by the Colorado River Basin Project Act.

Ratifies the contract between the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District and the Roosevelt Water Conservation District dated October 24, 1924. Directs the Secretary to revise a certain subcontract of the District for agricultural water service from CAP to permit the conversion of agricultural water to municipal and industrial uses.

Authorizes the Secretary, subject to tribal approval, to: (1) renew the right-of-way permit granted to Phelps Dodge Corporation on March 8, 1950, for the construction, operation, and maintenance of an electrical transmission line, and an existing road for access to such facilities; (2) renew the right-of-way permit granted to the Corporation for the construction, use, operation and maintenance of a water plant, pipeline, canal, water flowage easement through Willow Creek and an existing access road to those facilities over the lands of the Tribe; and (3) grant a water flowage easement through the portions of Eagle Creek flowing through the Tribe's Reservation. States that each right-of-way and flowage easement shall be for 100 years, and gives Phelps Dodge the right to renew them for an additional 100 years, subject to payment of rent at a rate based upon fair market value.

Directs the Secretary to amend the CAP water delivery contract between the United States and the Ak-Chin Indian Community dated December 11, 1980, to: (1) include the obligation of the United States to provide additional water, under specified conditions; (2) extend its term through the end of 2099 and provide for its subsequent renewal; and (3) authorize the Tribe to lease CAP water to which it is entitled under the Tribal CAP Delivery Contract within Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima Counties, to the city of Scottsdale pursuant to the Agreement, and to specified Arizona cities.

Directs the Secretary to enter into agreements to permit the Tribe to exchange, within Arizona, all or part of the water available to it under the Tribal CAP Delivery Contract.

Ratifies the Agreement among the parties with respect to: (1) the right of Globe and Safford to withdraw and use water from certain sources; and (2) the right of Phelps Dodge, under its agreement with the Tribe, to divert, withdraw, and use water.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) design and construct new facilities for the delivery of water to tribal reservation lands at a cost which shall not exceed the cost for such design and construction which would have been incurred by the Secretary in the absence of the agreement and this Act pursuant to the existing authority of the Colorado River Basin Project Act; and (2) amend the contract between the United States, the Economic Development Administration, and the Tribe relating to the construction of the Elgo Dam on the Reservation to discharge all remaining repayment obligations of the United States upon the enactment of this Act.

Establishes the San Carlos Apache Tribe Development Trust Fund within the Treasury to contain the funds appropriated for it, the funds provided by Arizona under the agreement, and the funds received from the tribal water leases authorized by this Act. Outlines provisions regarding the use of the Fund.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1993 and 1994.

Provides that the benefits realized by the Tribe and its members under this Act shall constitute full and complete satisfaction of all members' present and past claims for water rights, with specified exceptions. Authorizes the Tribe and the Secretary on behalf of the United States to waive and release all present and future water rights claims.

Directs the Secretary to carry out all necessary environmental compliance during the implementation phase of this settlement. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Secretary to establish a groundwater management plan for the San Carlos Apache Reservation.

Declares that concessions for recreation and fish and wildlife purposes on San Carlos Lake may be granted only by the Tribe's governing body.

Transfers to the Tribe the Secretary's entitlement of 30,000 acre-feet of water, less certain evaporation and seepage losses, which the Secretary may have acquired through substituting CAP water for water to which the Gila River Indian Community and the San Carlos Irrigation and Drainage District has a right to be released from San Carlos Reservoir and delivered to them in 1990.

Directs the Secretary to acquire, with the consent of the city of Scottsdale, upon mutually acceptable terms and through a land exchange based on fair market value, all of the city's right, title, and interest in Planet Ranch on the Bill Williams River, including all appurtenant water rights, and the city's January 1988 application filed with the Arizona Department of Water Resources to appropriate water from such River. Provides that, if an exchange is made with land bought by the Bureau of Reclamation for the construction and operation of the CAP, then, upon commencement of repayment by CAWCD of the reimbursable costs of the CAP, the fair market value of the lands exchanged shall be credited in full against the annual payments due from CAWCD under the terms of its repayment contract with the United States.

Amends the Colorado River Basin Project Act to repeal the requirement that the Secretary find that a surplus of groundwater exists and that drainage is or was required as a precondition for permitting groundwater to be pumped from within the exterior boundaries of a CAP contractor's service area for any use outside such area.

Declares that nothing in this Act shall be construed: (1) to affect the water rights or the water rights claims of any Federal agency other than the Bureau of Indian Affairs on behalf of the Tribe; or (2) to prohibit the United States from confirming in the Agreement executed pursuant to this Act, except on behalf of Indian tribes other than the San Carlos Apache Tribe, the Gila River and Little Colorado River watershed water rights of other parties to the Agreement by making express provisions for the same in such Agreement.