Implementation of the Taos Pueblo Indian water rights settlement

The Claims Resolution Act of 2010 was signed into law on December 8, 2010, authorizing the settlement of two long-running New Mexico Indian water rights cases.

Title V, the Taos Pueblo Indian Water Rights Settlement Act, authorizes implementation of the Abeyta (Taos Pueblo) settlement.

The Settlement Act authorizes and directs the Bureau of Reclamation to provide financial assistance in the form of grants on a non-reimbursable basis to plan, permit, design, engineer, and construct Mutual-Benefit Projects that will minimize adverse effects on the Pueblo?s water resources by moving future non-Indian ground water pumping away from the Pueblo?s Buffalo Pasture, a culturally sensitive wetland.

The Federal Team is working with the Mutual-Benefit Project parties as they get ready for the on-the-ground phase of settlement implementation.

Reclamation?s Albuquerque Area Office is in the process of completing environmental compliance and awarding grants to the entities that are moving forward with their projects.

The overall cost of the settlement is $144 million, of which $124 million would be paid by the Federal government and $20 million by the State of New Mexico.

The total federal contribution of $124 million includes $88.0 million directed to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the Taos Pueblo Water Development Fund, and a $36 million settlement fund ($16 million mandatory and $20 million discretionary funds) directed to Reclamation for the Mutual-Benefit Projects.

Agency - Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior protects and provides access to the Nation's natural and cultural heritage, including responsibilities to Indian tribes and island communities. Departmental goals include resource protection and usage, overseeing recreational opportunities, serving communities and excellence in management.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.

Terina Perez Albuquerque Area Office.

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
El Prado Water & Sanitation $ 8,491,711   2022-03-092025-12-31
Acequia Del Monte Del Rio Chiquito $ 1,179,319   2022-03-012024-06-30
Llano Quemado Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association, Inc. $ 1,761,792   2019-06-012023-03-31
Taos, Town Of $ 15,215,460   2020-09-162022-12-31
Taos, Town Of $ 2,830,201   2018-10-012022-12-31
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2017: The first grant for $4M was awarded in FY17, and at least one more grant should be awarded early in FY18. There are questions that will need to be resolved about who would own and operate certain projects before some of the Mutual-Benefit Project entities will be ready to apply for their grants, as a few have indicated that they are not interested in applying for funding or constructing their project. Additionally, the Federal Team was informed in October 2017 that some project locations may need to be reassessed due to hydrogeologic concerns. The parties will have to work together to resolve these issues. In the meantime, the Federal Team will continue to support efforts to move forward with settlement implementation, and Reclamation will continue to award grants as project entities apply for their funding. Fiscal Year 2018: No information available. Fiscal Year 2019: No information available.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Section 507 of the Settlement Act provides that the financial assistance will be used to plan, permit, design, engineer, and construct the Mutual-Benefit Projects in accordance with the Settlement Agreement. Project grants (cooperative agreements) will be provided to the eligible non-Pueblo entities for the Mutual-Benefit Projects, as specified in the section 507(a) of the Settlement Act.

The up to amount of financial assistance for each of the Mutual-Benefit Projects will be in accordance with the limitations specified in the Settlement Agreement.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Only the eligible non-Pueblo entities identified in section 503(1) of the Settlement Act are eligible to receive financial assistance.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Only the eligible non-Pueblo entities identified in section 503(1) are eligible to receive financial assistance.


All of the eligible non-Pueblo entities are political subdivisions of the State of New Mexico, as provided in the Settlement Agreement. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Section 509(e)(2) of the Settlement Act requires Reclamation to comply with each law of the federal government relating to the protection of the environment.

The Mutual-Benefit Projects will require an environmental impact assessment, which will be completed before an eligible non-Pueblo may begin implementation of an assisted activity that requires environmental or other regulatory compliance approval.

An environmental impact statement is required for this program.

An environmental impact assessment is required for this program.

An environmental impact statement is required for this program.

An environmental impact assessment is required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. The award of the financial assistance is mandatory. See section 507(a) of the Settlement Act. Reclamation will conduct a workshop to inform and educate the eligible non-Pueblo entities about the procedures for entering into financial assistance agreements and the responsibilities of the parties. Section 509(d) authorizes the Secretary, acting through Reclamation, to enter into such agreements and to take such measures as the Secretary may deem necessary or appropriate to fulfill the intent of the Settlement Agreement and Settlement Act.

Award Procedures

Reclamation will follow normal award procedures to provide mandatory financial assistance.


Not Applicable.


Taos Pueblo Indian Water Rights Settlement Act, Title V of Pub. L. 111-291 (Settlement Act).

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Varies depending on the type and complexity of the project. Further information will be available for each of the eligible non-Pueblo entitles, as specified in the assistance agreement.


None. Final award decisions are not subject to appeal; however, the Bureau of Reclamation will provide all eligible non-Pueblo entities with information about why their proposals were not selected for award.


Projects may generally be renewed on an annual basis, not to exceed a total of 5 years. If renewals or extensions are applicable to the project, this information will be included in the financial assistance agreement. When renewals or extensions are applicable, continuation of funding for these activities is subject to the availability of the appropriations authorized in section 509(c)(2) of the Settlement Act.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program. Matching requirements are not applicable to this program. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Not applicable. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Not applicable.

Post Assistance Requirements


Reports on an annual basis and other specific reports that may be applicable to the agreement such as property inventories, and patent and invention disclosures.

Reports on an annual basis.

Reports on an annual basis.

SF-425, Federal Financial Report.

Reports on an annual basis.


In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.


The eligible non-Pueblo entities will maintain project records in accordance with 2 CFR 200.333.

Financial Information

Account Identification

14-2638-0-1-301 - Mandatory Funds; 14-0680-0-1-301 - Discretionary Funds.


(Project Grants (Cooperative Agreements)) FY 17 $4,000,000; FY 18 est $6,000,000; and FY 19 est $12,500,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Range: $8,000 to $12.5 million Average: TBD.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

2 CFR 200 and OMB Circulars. These documents may also be obtained by contacting the Bureau of Reclamation Office listed below.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices. Terina Perez Albuquerque Area Office.

Headquarters Office

Terina Perez Denver Federal Center, Bldg 56 Rm 1000 25007 , Denver, Colorado 80225 Phone: 303.445.2490

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.

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