By Lily Altavena | Arizona Republic
Gilbert, the nation’s largest town, approved a $31.2 million water lease with the San Carlos Apache Tribe that should allow for continued growth.
The lease will give Gilbert access to nearly 6,000 acre feet of water annually, which is the equivalent to enough water for 12,000 to 15,000 households for one year.
The deal was vital to the town’s development, Water Resources Manager Eric Braun said.
Without ensuring a reliable water source, it would be difficult for the town to attract new development. The town must have a guaranteed water supply for the next 100 years of development under the Arizona Department of Water Resources.
“As the drought continues and water issues continue to present tough but conquerable challenges to the state, this deal underscores how municipalities and various stakeholders can come together and forge innovative deals. However, Arizona has a need to develop methods to augment the water supply and there are no concrete plans, to do so, on the immediate horizon. As someone who has been intimately involved in the complicated water policy discussion which took place over the past year, I think we should tip our cap to those who are willing and able to roll up their sleeves and collaborate on initiatives that can help Arizona grow over the next 100 years. Congratulations are in order to the San Carlos Apache tribe and particularly, Mayor Daniels, who displayed leadership and dogged determinedness to deal with all facets of the federal government to ensure this deal was consummated.”