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Hualapai Tribe - 1995 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Hualapai Tribe
Location: Peach Springs, AZ
Project Title: Feasibility Study: A Demonstration Project for the Hualapai Tribe - Photovoltaic Pumping System and Water Pipeline
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG48-95R810564
Project Amounts:
DOE: $200,000
Awardee: $50,000
Total: $250,000
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 1995
End: September 1996

Project Description


The Hualapai Tribe of northwestern Arizona suffers from nearly 70% unemployment and has limited income sources. A tourist facility on the Grand Canyon rim currently draws approximately 500 day-visitors but lack of water limits expansion potential. The Department of Energy (DOE) is co-funding the purchase and installation of a PV system to pump water 26 miles from a well to the facility. System data will be collected for one tourist season after installation. The tribe plans to expand the Grand Canyon West facility to include a hotel and casino, which will require a water distribution system and wastewater management system. The expanded facility is expected to provide substantial employment opportunities for the tribe.

The Hualapai Reservation in northwestern Arizona is blessed with many natural resources, including 108 miles of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. Because the tribe has not been allocated an allotment of the river for use by the tribe, availability of water has limited economic development, livestock productivity, and wildlife abundances in many areas of the reservation.

Goals and Objectives

The Hualapai Tribe has limited economic opportunities and extremely high unemployment for a variety of reasons including the lack of utility infrastructure. One promising enterprise, however, is a tourist attraction on the rim of Grand Canyon called Grand Canyon West that currently receives up to 500 visitors per day who are fed a picnic lunch overlooking the canyon and the Colorado River. The master plan developed for this enterprise envisions a 500-room hotel and casino at Grand Canyon West once a reliable supply of water is available.

The photomontage shows views of the photovoltaic water pumping system on the Hualapai Reservation, against a background photo of the desert terrain typical of the reservation.  Two photos show photovoltaic arrays which pump water to tanks shown in the photos.  A third photo shows a segment of the water pipeline in a trench, prior to being covered with dirt to protect it from freezing on cold desert nights.

The Hualapai Tribe of Arizona owns a tourist facility on the rim of the Grand Canyon, but there is no local water source. The tribe received a Title XXVI award to purchase photovoltaic water pumps to move water from a well on the reservation to the facility. Additional grants from other agencies have allowed the tribe to complete the pipeline.

Project Actions and Resultant Data

In 1993, the Hualapai Tribe received emergency drought relief funding from the United States Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Colorado Region, to initiate a solar-powered water pipeline originating at the Westwater Well 26 miles from Grand Canyon West. With these funds, the tribe installed one solar-powered pumping station at Westwater and 11 miles of water pipeline toward Grand Canyon West. This water immediately supplied wildlife and cattle with much-needed water and helped to maintain these important resources.

To complete the Westwater pipeline to Grand Canyon West, four additional solar-powered pumping stations are required as well as 15 additional miles of pipe. In an attempt to fund the remainder of the Westwater pipeline, the Hualapai Tribe applied for funding from the DOE's Indian Energy Resources Development Program. The tribe was awarded a development grant in 1995 that would provide for two additional solar-powered pumping stations and two additional miles of pipe toward Grand Canyon West. Described below are the features of the pipeline, which was completed with DOE funding, and the current status of the Westwater pipeline.

Solar Pumping Stations

Using DOE funds, two solar-powered pumping stations were installed and connected to the existing pipeline. The first station is located at North Tank approximately five miles from the Westwater station and is now known as the North Tank Station. Also located at the North Tank Station are four solar tracking units. Each solar tracking unit supports 12 solar modules that power four 1-horsepower triplex booster pumps, which are housed in a pre-existing utility shed that has been modified to accommodate the pumps and their wiring. A 5,000 gallon storage tank is located adjacent to the pumphouse to help store water for nighttime and cloudy days. Complete specifications for the current status of the Westwater pipeline were developed.

The second station is located approximately five miles to the north of the first at Black Canyon and is now known as the Black Canyon Station. Six solar tracking units are located there that each supports 10 solar modules. Three, 2-horsepower triplex booster pumps are installed there in a smaller pumphouse constructed for this purpose. There is another 5,000 gallon storage tank located at the Black Canyon Station (again to store water for nighttime and cloudy days).

Beyond the Black Canyon Station, there is an additional four miles of pipe installed, including two miles of pipe that the Hualapai Tribe provided. At the terminus of the line, there is another 5,000-gallon storage tank and a pre-plumbed pumphouse for future completion. From the storage tanks and at other lateral lines from the main pipeline, water is pumped into drinkers for cattle and wildlife. In the near future, we hope to extend lines to five earthen stock tanks that hold between 10,000 and 25,000 gallons each. The storage tanks are filled three times per week as cattle and wildlife utilize the water.

Pipeline Status and Future Direction

Completion of Phase II of the Westwater pipeline with funding from DOE greatly expanded the productivity of the Westwater pipeline by increasing the number of stock tanks maintained with a supply of water from two to five. This phase also increased the length of the pipeline so that the pipeline is now only 13 miles (approximately) from Grand Canyon West.

The tribe is currently drafting a scope of work with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Colorado River Region, Grand Canyon Area Office, to purchase the remaining pipe to reach Grand Canyon West. The tribe anticipates applying for funding for the remaining two solar stations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Results, Conclusions, Findings, and Recommendations

With the assistance from the DOE, Denver Regional Office, the Hualapai Tribe significantly improved the solar-powered Westwater water pipeline to provide much needed water for cattle and wildlife on this arid portion of the Hualapai Reservation. Additionally, the tribe was able to improve the chances of completing the pipeline to Grand Canyon West so that they can foresee increased economic development, employment, and prosperity for the Hualapai Tribe and its members.

Project Status

For project status or additional information, contact the project contacts.

Project Contact

Hualapai Tribe
PO Box 300
Peach Springs, AZ 86434
Telephone: (520) 769-2255