The Southern Ute Tribal Council is giving its strong support for the introduction of both the U.S. House and Senate bills that would require the Secretary of the Interior to repair the Pine River Indian Irrigation Project.
The bills were introduced in June to repair the irrigation system that provides water to more than 13,000 acres and nearly 300 tribal members and 100 non-tribal members.
The system is operated and maintained by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and, according to a 2006 study, the deferred maintenance on the irrigation ditch
is estimated to be in excess of
$20 million. The deteriorated status of the irrigation ditch means that many of those who rely on it do not get their water.
Tribal Chairman Matthew Box said the Southern Utes are committed to helping the federal government fix the irrigation ditch where necessary.
"The tribe has worked to address the condition of the PRIIP for years," Box said. "Hopefully, Congress will finally take the steps to fix the PRIIP for tribal members and others who need - but don't receive - their irrigation water."