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Native American communities along the Colorado River that have a Priority 1 contract for Colorado River water will not be impacted by climate change, said Carrie Joseph, a Graduate Research Intern at Central Arizona Project (CAP).
Joseph is a Hopi student and a PhD candidate at the University of Arizona. She worked at CAP as part of the Tribal Internship Program. CAP collaborated with Northern Arizona University's Institute for Tribal Environmental Education Outreach Program (EEOP) to create her research to determine if, or when, climate change would have an impact on the water supplies for four tribes: the Colorado River Indian Tribes, Fort Mohave, Fort Yuma/Quechan and the Cocopah.
Climate change will not impact the water supplies for the four tribes with contracts that carry the highest priority, Joseph said.
"The demand will be impacted (increase) but supply will be stable," she said.
Joseph spent 10 weeks working onsite in the Colorado River programs area of CAP learning modeling skills that can assist her academic research and tribal communities who seek modeling information.
"NAU's EEOP places students in internships nationwide and the CAP job provided a unique opportunity for a student interested in tribal water use and the Colorado River water supply," said Dr. Mohammed Mahmoud, an analyst and modeler with CAP's Colorado River program who supervised Joseph's internship.
Joseph learned not only new skills but also expanded her awareness while working at CAP.
"Water and all the issues related to it affect tribes and these issues and the hard decisions that are coming are things tribes need to plan for now. This internship helps me understand more about how CAP, other agencies, states, and tribes are interconnected," she said. "I think it gives me a greater sense of perspective which is important because in the end, we are all going to have to come together to find solutions."
CAP considers the summer program a success and plans to continue it in future years.