As an inhabitant of the region for centuries, the Gila River Indian Community has a rich history of managing water supplies for its members and the Community as a whole.
The Community’s water rights are some of the most extensive in the state and include water from the Gila River, water received from Salt River Project resources (Salt River, Verde River, and East Clear Creek), groundwater, reclaimed water and Colorado River water delivered through the Central Arizona Project canal.
The single largest component of the Community’s water rights is the water derived from the CAP — more than 300,000 acre-feet per year.
Currently, the primary use of water by the Community is for agriculture. The Community’s vast land resources are prime areas for agricultural production, and the Community has plans to further develop its agricultural enterprise in the future.
However, more water delivery infrastructure is needed, and construction of these facilities is still many years away. Until the infrastructure needed to deliver the water to the entire reservation is completed, the Community is expanding its water management expertise through innovative banking of its unused CAP water for future use.
The CAP water is stored underground in central Arizona’s vast aquifers and earns what is termed “long-term storage credits” under Arizona’s Underground Water Storage, Savings, and Replenishment Program.