If U.S. Congressman Trent Franks' Bill No. 2938 passes, Arizonans' water bills are sure to increase again. Bill 2938 was submitted to prevent construction of a casino on a strip of county land between Peoria and Glendale. The 25-year-old government treaty with the Tohono O'odham Indian Nation allowed them to acquire land and build a hotel casino on replacement land. In return, the Nation gave up precious underground water rights that we now use. They surrendered their claim to 32,000 acre feet of water each year with the expectations of increasing profits to their gaming business.
What would happen if Congress breaks part of the treaty and takes away its ability to build a casino? The Nation would have every right to reclaim its water rights. Someone would end up paying the Nation around $4 million yearly for that scarce water. At the present time CAP water costs our city over $100 per acre foot. Prices are sure to rise in future years. If Arizonans didn't want to pay, California would be more than happy to purchase the water we now use.
Franks did not consider all the problems his treaty breaking bill would create when he introduced it. I believe he introduced the bill at the urging of Glendale Mayor Scruggs and the two tribes who own local casinos and do not want competition cutting into their large profits.
The mayor has worked feverishly to leave a positive legacy. Three years of battling construction of the hotel casino has consumed her, and may be her undoing. Perhaps she will be remembered negatively each year if Arizonans have to start paying for the 32,000 acre feet of water we now own.