Navajo and Hopi water settlements raise concerns

Indian Country Today and reporter Anne Minard report:  "Following a series of public forums on a controversial water settlement involving the Navajo and Hopi tribes, opponents of the settlement and the Navajo Nation president’s office seem no closer to an agreement.

Senate Bill 2109 pertains to the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012, which aims to settle water rights in the Little Colorado River watershed, a tributary of the Colorado River in northeast Arizona. While the proposed settlement does secure all the unappropriated water in the basin for the Navajo tribe and promises water development projects for dry areas of the reservation, opponents don’t like some of the tradeoffs. For example, the water supply for one of the delivery projects relies on the extension of a lease to the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station in Page, Arizona. And another clause may restrict the Navajo Nation’s ability to sue for pollution and damage to an aquifer on which some tribal residents depend for drinking water."

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