Ute Indian Tribe
For over a century, the State of Utah has pursued a deliberate policy of interfering with and preventing the Ute Indian Tribe from exercising its federal Indian reserved water rights. Knowing the Ute Indian Tribe’s reserved water rights are senior in priority to all other water rights within state borders, the State has gone to great lengths to undermine tribal water development and to ensure that tribal water is diverted to State use and administration.
The Lake Powell Pipeline is yet another chapter in this saga. The tribe has a pending lawsuit against the United States, the State of Utah, and the Central Utah Water Conservancy District to remedy a history of concerted efforts by Utah and the United States to marginalize the tribe’s reserved water rights and obstruct tribal water development. Now, the State is once again asserting dominion over tribal water rights and attempting to place the tribe in a subservient position which appears to be based, in part, on religious and theological beliefs dealing with Native Americans. The Lake Powell Pipeline will remove water from the Upper Colorado River Basin across the state to the Lower Basin at St. George, Utah. All of the tribe’s reserved water rights are in the Upper Colorado River Basin.
The Ute Indian Tribe has fought this war to protect its reserved water rights and will not stand down. The State has no authority under law to administer water rights belonging to the tribe, much less to physically remove these waters from tribal control. As the State should know, the tribe will not sit by passively and let the State chip away at the tribe’s senior-priority water rights.
About the Ute Indian Tribe
The Ute Indian Tribe resides on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in northeastern Utah. Three bands of Utes comprise the Ute Indian Tribe: the White River Band, the Uncompahgre Band and the Uintah Band. The tribe has a membership of more than three thousand individuals, with over half living on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation. The Ute Indian Tribe operates its own tribal government and oversees approximately 1.3 million acres of trust land which contains significant oil and gas deposits. The Tribal Business Committee is the governing council of the tribe.