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Phoenix, Gila River Indian Community Partner to Store Groundwater, Restore River FlowsPhoenix, Gila River Indian Community Partner to Store Groundwater, Restore River Flows<div class="ExternalClass5EDF95B9449D40A99DACAFDAA153EEC0"><div><p>​PHOENIX – Mayor Greg Stanton and Gila River Indian Community’s Governor Stephen Roe Lewis today announced an agreement in principle that will help protect City water supplies during times of shortage while also helping to restore flows to the Gila River. </p><p>The Phoenix City Council unanimously approved the agreement on Wednesday, while the Tribal Council will take formal action on a future date. Under the first phase of this proposed partnership, Phoenix will store up to 3,800 acre-feet of Colorado River water – around 1.238 billion gallons or enough for 16,000 Phoenix residents annually -- in the Gila River Community’s Olberg Dam Underground Storage Facility near Sacaton. The Olberg facility restores flows to the Gila River while also recharging the Community’s aquifer.</p><p>Through future phases of the partnership, it is anticipated that the water stored at the Olberg facility could be recovered, and in exchange, the Community would provide Phoenix with Colorado River water during times of shortage. </p><p>“Phoenix is honored to partner with the Gila River Indian Community on water issues,” Stanton said. “The Community enjoys the largest allocation of Colorado River water in Central Arizona, and is a key player in the state’s water future. Through collaborative partnerships like this, Arizonans can better confront and solve our long-term water challenges.” </p><p>Governor Lewis noted that “the Gila River Indian Community and the City of Phoenix have long shared a border and economic interests. This agreement will provide a foundation for future partnerships benefitting both of our communities and is a model for the region.”</p><p>The City will pay the Community a storage fee, which will help the Community maintain and expand the Olberg facility. The Community’s Olberg Dam Underground Storage Facility was developed to recharge the community’s aquifer while also restoring flows to the Gila River, a sacred foundation of the Community’s culture.  </p><p>The initial agreement will allow for a small-scale pilot project to begin immediately and will run through 2017. If successful, it could lead to a larger-scale, long-term program that could include additional Colorado River water storage in Olberg Dam Underground Storage Facility.</p><p>This partnership, along with the city’s Colorado River Resiliency Fund and the Phoenix-Tucson exchange, is an example of creative approaches to water management that the City must undertake to guarantee its water future for generations to come.</p><p>“We appreciate the opportunity to work with Governor Lewis on this agreement and look forward to a lasting partnership that benefits both Phoenix and the Community,” added Stanton.</p></div></div>2/17/2017 7:00:00 AMRobbie Sherwood (480) 246-7944Stephanie Bracken (602) 769-0717