Photos: Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation

This page features aerial and ground-based photos of the Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation near Parker, Arizona.

Created by the federal government in 1865, the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) Reservation is a community consisting of members from four distinct tribes: Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo. The reservation stretches across nearly 300,000 acres in Arizona and California, with the Colorado River serving as its focal point and the source of 719,248 acre-feet per year of water rights.

Within the CRIT Reservation, the agricultural industry has always been the community’s primary source of revenue. The Colorado River water has irrigated crops of cotton, alfalfa, and sorghum. Today, much of the Reservation’s land is dedicated to hay production.

CRIT’s senior water rights to a sizeable portion of the Colorado River has left it with water to spare—something rare in the American Southwest—but these water rights can’t be leased (rather than sold) without federal approval. Last year, Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly introduced the Colorado River Indian Tribes Water Resiliency Act of 2021 to Congress, which would allow CRIT to create such leases. Passage of the bill would allow the reservation to continue helping maintain water levels in Lake Mead while also providing direct drought relief to Arizona communities.

Learn more:

Lauren Gilger, “A drought is cutting Colorado River usage. But this tribe has water to spare — and lease,” KJZZ, January 25, 2022.

Michael Elizabeth Sakas, “Historically excluded from Colorado River policy, tribes want a say in how the dwindling resource is used,” Circle of Blue, January 20, 2022.

John Gutekunst, “CRIT Chairwoman Flores addresses water and other issues at state capitol,” Parker Pioneer, January 17, 2022.

DateFebruary 2021
LocationColorado River Indian Tribes Reservation, Arizona (map)
CreditTed Wood/The Water Desk
RightsFree to reuse under Creative Commons license.

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