Water Marketing

“It is especially appropriate that the United States supports the tribes’ ability to use and develop their own water. The announced federal Indian policy is one of promoting self-determination… the federal policy of Indian self-determination includes components of economic self-sufficiency and rights of self-government. The policy can only have meaning if tribes have the ability to use their own natural resources productively.”[1]

“Federal establishing the reservations recognized that … it would ultimately be necessary to provide [Indians] with economic well-being.”[2] “When tribes were confined to reservations, water became vital to their survival there. Some were no longer able to roam and hunt over vast areas; others were restricted in their traditional fishing opportunities. They had to make the most of reservations where much of the land was barren and dry, and where water for fishing or crop irrigation was scarce. It is clear that for centuries Indians have had their essential needs sustained by the waters available to them. And it is also clear that the future of Indian reservations as permanent homelands depends on water. Indian economic survival today depends on having enough water for irrigation, industry and domestic use; on having water clean enough to sustain fisheries and spiritual needs; and, indeed, on having the ability to sell water to non-Indians for off-reservation uses.”[3]

–David Getches

[1] Thomas R. McGuire, William B. Lord, Mary G. Wallace. Indian Water in the New West. Chapter 1: Indian Water Rights Conflicts in Perspective, David Getches. The university of Arizona Press. Tucson & London. 1993. At page 20.

[2] 27 Gonzlr 447, 454.

[3] David H. Getches, Management and Marketing of Indian Water: From Conflict to Pragmatism. University of Colorado Law Review, Winter, 1988. 58 U. Colo. L. Rev. 515, at 516.