Decisions Loom on Tribal Water Rights Settlement

Jun 15, 2012

Navajo and Hopi lawmakers soon are expected to decide the fate of a water rights settlement that could end years of litigation or send the tribes back to court. The settlement recognizes the rights of the tribes to groundwater within the Little Colorado River basin. The Navajo Nation also would get nearly three-fourths of surface water from the river.

Both tribes would waive further claims to the river system in exchange for groundwater delivery projects paid for by the federal government.

Republican U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona has introduced legislation in Congress to approve the settlement. But that won't move forward without the blessing of the tribes. Hopi lawmakers could take a stance as early as Friday. The Navajo Nation Council is expected to vote sometime this month.