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Utah State University

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The Ute Indian Tribe of northeastern Utah has large land holdings rich in water and energy resources. Revenues from these sources have created capital that can potentially be used by the Tribe to further develop its resources and expand its agricultural and business enterprises. Realities, however, complicate this simple scenario in that the Tribal goals are broader than pure economic gain and that increased incomes may mean sacrifices in terms of these other goals. The Tribe faces the problem of how best to develop its water resources in a way that best meets its multiplicity of needs.

The research team worked with the Utes to articulate their resources development goals, to operationalize those goals through the identification of measureable indicators, to identify promising development policies, to predict what those policies would achieve through changing the indicators, and to set before the Utes the trade offs among the goals. The procedures used in working with the Indians are described. The results were used to construct and use a linear programming model to identify Ute-specific development policies with their impacts and the trade offs among them. The model provides a framework that the Tribe can use to assess the alternatives for developing its water resources.