/ Modified feb 23, 2022 1:48 p.m.

$1.7 billion in infrastructure act funds will go towards fulfilling settlements of Indian water rights claims

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the funds in Phoenix this week.

Haaland Infrastructure Announcement U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced $1.7 billion in Infrastructure Act funds for settlements of Indian water rights claims in Phoenix on February 22, 2022.
Megan Myscofski/AZPM

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has announced $1.7 billion of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds will go to fulfill settlements of Indian water rights claims.

Haaland made the announcement in Phoenix on Tuesday after holding a listening session with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona and a visit to the Gila River Indian Community.

"With this crucial funding, Interior will uphold our trust responsibilities and ensure that tribal communities receive the water resources that they have long been promised," Haaland said.

A 2021 report from the independent Water and Tribes Initiative showed Native American households are 19 times less likely than white households to have indoor plumbing.

It also reported that about 75% of people living on Hopi land drink water contaminated by arsenic.

"Though this funding can’t make it rain, or refill wells and reservoirs with water, it can go a long way to build resilience and develop strategies that can help stretch water resources that are available," Haaland said.

The money will go towards water efficiency and recycling programs, rural water projects, grants and dam safety.

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