Representatives of the Ute Indian Tribe left Tuesday for Washington, D.C., to meet with members of the Utah congressional delegation and top-ranking officials of a Senate panel on water resources.
Ute Chairman Luke Duncan said the five-member tribal delegation will be fighting for Ute water rights related to the Central Utah Project.The delegation, all members of the Ute Business Committee, will spend two days in the nation's capital seeking support and funding from Congress for water-storage projects promised to the tribe under CUP but never built.
"We want to let them know what our agreement is and what we would like to see and probably let them know that if those aren't met we may be back to lobby against the CUP," Duncan said.
"Hopefully, they can see what the deferral agreement has done and which direction it has gone," he said.
Duncan said the tribal delegation will use the so-far unrealized promises in the 24-year-old CUP deferral agreement "to show that the tribe is being pushed out once again."
That agreement brings water from the Uintah-Ouary Reservation to the Wasatch Front via the upper Stillwater Dam as part of the multibillion-dollar water project.
In exchange for deferring their rights to the water, the tribe was promised a variety of water storage and irrigation projects. None have been built, however.
Last month, the tribe's Business Committee declared the 1965 deferral agreement invalid.