Southern Ute Indian Tribe of the Southern Ute Reservation, Ute Mountain Tribe of the Ute Mountain Reservation (Colorado, New Mexico and Utah)


Colorado Utes Water Settlement


Southern Ute Indian Reservation, Ute Mountain Indian Reservation




Upper Colorado Region

Document Type

Federal legislation


United States

Publication Date



Federal Legislation: Colorado Ute Indian Water Rights Settlement Act of 1988 (PL 100-585, 102 Stat. 2973) The DOI Secretary is authorized to supply water from the Animas-La Plata and Dolores Projects, which cannot be sold or leased into the Lower Colorado River Basin except under limited circumstances. The Tribes can transform a water right into a "CO State water right" and then sell or lease it. Colorado River Compact restrictions apply. The Act disapproves characterization in the Agreement of water rights which may be used off the Reservation as “project reserved water right” or “non-project reserved water right” any claims to such must be extinguished by the final decree. Costs of the project are deferred, sans interest, until Tribe uses or contracts the use of municipal or industrial water allocation. Agricultural irrigation costs are also deferred, and those portions irrigators could never repay will be drawn from the Upper Colorado River Basin Fund. If Tribe elects not to take allocation from Ridges Basin Pumping Plant, Secretary will cover plant costs. Funds necessary to pay annual operation, maintenance and replacement of Projects are authorized. $49,500,000 is authorized for three annual installment payments to the Tribal Development Funds of each Tribe. Secretary is required to carry out this only when Tribes execute waivers to water rights. The Tribes may submit a tribal investment plan and/or an economic development plan to the Secretary for approval. The Secretary has authority to administer the water rights. The Reclamation will design and construct the Dolores and Animas-La Plata projects. The parties to the settlement have signed the Binding Agreement for Animas-La Plata Project Cost Sharing Agreement on June 30, 1986 as well as the Final Settlement Agreement of Dec. 10, 1986. [Source: searchable text not yet available 11-21-12]


Federal legislation to implement the Settlement of December 10, 1986: 8 pages.

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