On September 3, 2019, the WSWC, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) sent a joint letter to members of Congress in support of the proposed extension of the Reclamation Water Settlement Fund (RWSF), created by section 10501 the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (43 U.S.C. 407).
The Senate introduced S. 886, which has been amended and has passed out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. The House has introduced H.R. 1904, and the Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on April 4, 2019. NARF and WSWC testified at that hearing in support of the bill. With our understanding of how legislation is scored, it is important that these two bills are reconciled and passed before the end of this fiscal year, to authorize the RWSF to continue receiving transfers from the Reclamation Fund after FY2029.
We strongly support negotiated settlements of disputed Indian reserved water rights claims as the best solution to a critical problem that affects almost all Western States. We encourage you to support a strong fiscal commitment to these settlements. We also urge you to support extending the current authorization to use revenues accruing to the Reclamation Fund for the Bureau of Reclamation to undertake project construction related to settlements.