Sycuan Reservation water agreement commemorated
SYCUAN RESERVATION (KUSI) – A historic water agreement was celebrated today on the grounds of the Sycuan Indian Reservation. While Sycuan’s new hotel is getting most of the public attention, a reliable water supply for the reservation is an even bigger achievement.
Everyone involved in Monday morning’s commemoration of a water delivery agreement, reached last August between Sycuan and the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District, noted it was 10 years in the making.
Water reliability is one of the goals of any large municipality, but think about the negotiations and politics a small reservation in San Diego County has to go through, especially when it’s had to rely on it’s groundwater supply for so many years.
The tribe’s original 640-acre reservation was never annexed by a water district. The original reservation, the 1875 created reservation, was a hole in a donut, a no-man’s land, and not in any water district’s service area.
When the reservation is a major gaming player in the County, with a popular casino and a new much anticipated 260-million-dollar hotel about to open, politics play a major role in the water supply.
It took a state law sponsored by local Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher to allow for the agreement. “So much history here, dating back to the 1800s. Our tribal membership is relatively small compared to reservations nationally, 225 members, but over 3,000 employees involved in tribal government, the casino, the hotel, the golf course and that money comes back into to the county. It wouldn’t happen without water, it’s a key ingredient” says Gonzalez.
The Sycuan Casino Resort opens in three weeks.