Drought Mitigation Activities
The Hualapai Tribe and its Reservation in northwestern Arizona frequently experience drought conditions that have significant impacts on the people, the economy and the natural resources found there. This Cooperative Drought Contingency Plan (Plan) was prepared to direct the tribe’s monitoring of environmental conditions, provide a mechanism for the declaration of drought, to identify drought response activities and to identify needed drought mitigation measures to alleviate the effects of future drought in the community.
The Hualapai Tribe consists of approximately 2000 tribal members that are governed by a nine-member Tribal Council elected by the members. The majority of the tribe’s income comes from tourism, cattle ranching, timber harvest and big-game hunting. Each of these enterprises can be greatly affected by drought, thereby affecting the tribe’s income and local economy. Many visitors to the tribe’s beautiful reservation, one that includes 108 miles of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, are drawn by white-water rafting and pristine views of the canyon. During drought, water levels decline increasing the dangers of rafting while wildfires increase causing decreased visibility in the canyon. Cattle and wildlife are greatly affected by drought as they lack an abundance of forage and drinking water during drought conditions. Finally, drought not only affects the frequency of wildfire, but it also affects the health of the forest by spreading the incidence of disease and insect infestation.
Not only does drought affect economic development of the tribe, but it also affects its drinking water supplies and water supplies for fire suppression. While the tribe implements stringent water conservation measures during drought conditions, there is often not enough water in the main water supply (Truxton well) for domestic use especially when fires are burning on the reservation. In mitigation activities detailed in the Plan, we describe replacing a four mile stretch of lead pipe from the Peach Springs Well to the community to provide a secondary water supply. In addition, we propose that a feasibility study be performed to examine the possible construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Reservation that would provide a dependable water supply for community use and fire suppression as well as electricity.
This Drought Contingency Plan identifies responsibilities and activities for each phase of drought (normal, alert, warning, and emergency) for the Hualapai Tribal government, tribal departments, federal and state agencies, the Grand Canyon Resort Corporation and others. Implementation of the Plan will therefore clearly identify personnel and activities aimed at reducing the impacts of future drought on the Hualapai Reservation.
In this Plan, we identify mitigation projects that will reduce the impacts of future droughts on the Hualapai Reservation. Some of the major projects include; cleaning and repair of water tanks and cleaning and repair of earthen dams, a feasibility study for construction of a hydro-electric dam on the reservation, installation of water pipelines (including the Peach Springs pipeline), drilling of deep wells and the purchase of two water trucks.
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The Drought Contingency Plan