Water settlement goes before Navajo lawmakers

By Felicia Fonseca
Flagstaff, Arizona (AP) October 2010

Navajo lawmakers were considering a bill recently to settle the tribe’s water rights in the lower Colorado River basin.

The proposed settlement would give the Navajo Nation 31,000 acre-feet of water a year from the Colorado River and the unappropriated flows from the Little Colorado River. An acre-foot is enough to supply two typical households for a year.

Critics say the tribe deserves more and are urging lawmakers to vote down the bill. They say the settlement forfeits Navajo water rights for the benefit of other water users.

The enactment of the settlement ultimately hinges on approval from Congress and hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for pipelines that would deliver water to western Navajo communities.