Facts about GRIC’s Water

September 2, 2016


Communications and Public Affairs Office

Gila River Indian Community


Do you have questions about the Community’s water and water settlement?


Recently there have been many questions about the Community’ water and how it is used. Through December 2016 the GRIN will publish a new article about water in each edition to help Community members understand the water settlement, which is a complex agreement involving the United States, the State of Arizona, and many stakeholders in Arizona. We also want to address Community members’ specific questions about the Community’s water settlement and what the Community plans to do with its water today, and in the future.


If you have a question about water please send an email to: info@gric.nsn.us.


You can also send a letter to:


Editor, GRIN

P.O. Box 459

Sacaton, AZ 85147


Basic Facts About The Community’s Water


Under the Community’s water settlement, it has a maximum of 653,500 acre-feet of water it can use each year. There are 325,851 gallons in an acre-foot of water, which means the Community’s annual entitlement is more than 213 billion gallons of water.


The Community’s water comes from many sources but the three largest sources of water are Central Arizona Project (CAP) water from the Colorado River, Gila River water, and groundwater.


CAP Water


The Community is entitled to 311,800 acre-feet of CAP water each year. CAP water is the Community’s most plentiful source of water, but to use it the Community must pay the energy bill to move this water over 200 miles from the Colorado River to central Arizona.


  • The Community currently uses between 30,000 -70,000 acre-feet of CAP water each year to supplement other water sources used for irrigation.
  • Each year, approximately 70,000 acre-feet of CAP water is obligated to other water users under existing water leases and exchanges, most of which were approved as a condition to the Community’s water settlement.
  • Since 2010, the Community has stored an average of 180,000 acre-feet of CAP water per year to create long-term storage credits.   Long-term storage credits are water rights that can either be sold or used in later years by recovering these credits from underground. One credit equals one acre-foot of water.


Gila River Water



The Community’s expects to receive 125,000 acre-feet of Gila River water each year under its Globe Equity Decree entitlement. The amount of Gila River water the Community receives each year depends on the amount of snow pack in the Gila River water shed; the more snow, the more Gila River water. The Community does not pay anything to have Gila River water delivered to its lands.




Under the water settlement, the Community can pump and use 171,700 acre-feet of groundwater each year. The Community currently does not pump this amount of water because it wants to protect its aquifer from over pumping. The amount of groundwater the Community can use can be significantly increased if by recharging its aquifer.