Tuesday July 9, 2024

SF Gate

Members of Arizona’s congressional delegation introduced legislation Monday that would authorize a water rights settlement with three Native American tribes in the Southwest, providing more certainty for the arid region.

The proposal carries a price tag of $5 billion — larger than any such agreement enacted by Congress.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona said the legislation marks a historic step forward in resolving what has been a decades-long dispute with the Navajo Nation as well as the Hopi and San Juan Southern Paiute tribes.

The legislation would ratify a settlement agreement that was approved by each of the tribes in May. In all, the tribes would be guaranteed access to more than 56,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water along with specific groundwater rights and protections. The legislation also would establish a homeland for the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe.

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