Jason Hauter Discusses Gila River Water Storage Deal with Phoenix Business Journal

Akin Gump’s Jason Hauter, Washington, D.C.-based counsel in the firm’s American Indian law and policy practice, was quoted extensively in a Phoenix Business Journal article on Gila River Water Storage LLC, a business venture between the Gila River Indian Community and Salt River Project, one of Arizona’s largest public utility companies.

Hauter negotiated the deal to help SRP secure water in emergencies and allow the Gila River Indian Community to use now the water it is allotted by the Central Arizona Project (CAP) before it completes the infrastructure to do so.  He says, “The primary benefit to this is to put the CAP water to use sooner rather than later.”

By waiting, the Gila River Indian Community might lose its claim to CAP water.  Instead, Hauter noted that the community, to which he himself belongs, sought ways to work with SRP so some would be put into recharge facilities where the tribe would get credit for groundwater replenishment. That would allow them to pump water from other aquifers, and it could allow them to sell credits to other groups, including cities and SRP.

Hauter says that this plan will, among other things, link the community to its heritage: “Part of this is realizing one of the major goals of the settlement did express: How do you bring back the natural flow of the river?”