No Significant Impact
San Juan-Chama Project Repayment Contracts
Taos Pueblo Indian Water Rights Settlement Act
The federal action addressed in this Environmental Assessment is the execution of three repayment contracts by the Bureau of Reclamation pursuant to the Taos Pueblo Indian Water Rights Settlement Act. Reclamation proposes to contract with the Taos Pueblo for an allocation of 2,215 acre-feet of San Juan-Chama Project water, with the Town of Taos for 366 AF of SJCP water, and with El Prado Water and Sanitation District for 40 AF of SJCP water. The Settlement Act authorizes and directs the Secretary of the Interior to execute the Taos Pueblo Indian Water Rights Settlement Agreement, and to enter into these repayment contracts. Repayment contracts provide for the repayment by the water user of the construction costs allocable to the water provided under the terms of the contract. The Settlement Act provides that the construction costs allocable to the Taos Pueblo’s water allocation shall be nonreimbursable by the Taos Pueblo. Each contracting entity will be required to pay annual operation and maintenance costs allocable to its proportionate share of SJCP water.
The purpose of the proposed repayment contracts is to meet the requirements of the Settlement Act which authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to execute the Settlement Agreement, resolving the Taos Pueblo’s water rights claims in the Rio Pueblo de Taos and Rio Hondo stream systems, tributaries to the Rio Grande. The settlement will fulfill the rights of Taos Pueblo consistent with Federal trust responsibility. A contract with the Reclamation is required for an entity to receive an allocation of SJCP water, such water is the State of New Mexico’s allocation of Colorado River Water under the Colorado River Compact, and the Secretary of the Interior and the state of New Mexico cooperate in allocating SJCP water.
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