Congressional Empowerment of the Colorado River Indian Tribes
By: Blythe Pabon
Historic Congressional bills expand the power of Indian Tribes over the infrastructure and water rights of the Colorado River. The Colorado River provides drinking water for over 40-million people in the United States and Mexico and supports “1/12 of the total U.S. gross domestic product,” but the River’s water levels continue to drop amid a 20-year drought. Management plans of the drought, including a 2019 Contingency agreement between seven states, have proven unsuccessful in preventing further damage, which prompted Congress to pass three historic bills on December 23, 2022 Which were signed by President Biden on January 5, 2023. The bills would allow the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRITs or Tribes) to exercise increased control over their water resources to support drought affected communities.