Water rights settlement with Navajo, Hopi may finally happen

The Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe and San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe are nearing a historic water settlement in Arizona, ending a decades-long struggle.
Spread the love
  • Settlement ends decades-long battle.
  • Benefits thousands without running water.
  • Funding for critical water infrastructure.
  • Navajo leaders call it a ‘pivotal moment.’

March 4, 2024 — The Navajo Nation is on the cusp of a historic water rights settlement in Arizona. Following 60 years of negotiations, the agreement will resolve water rights claims and pave the way for much-needed water infrastructure. Thousands of Navajo people who currently lack running water stand to benefit.

The Hopi Tribe and the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe will also benefit, should a final agreement be reached.

Parties include the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Tribe, the San Juan Southern Paiute, the United States, Arizona, Arizona State Land Department, Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service, Central Arizona Water Conservation District, Bar T Bar Ranch, Flying M Ranch, the towns and cities of Flagstaff, Winslow, Holbrook, Taylor, Snowflake, Show Low, Eagar, Springerville, St. Johns, and other parties to the larger Little Colorado River general stream adjudication.

Navajo leaders see this as a major victory after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year denied specific treaty obligations on the federal government regarding Navajo water rights. The ruling became a turning point, pushing the Nation to pursue this settlement aggressively.

The complex agreement includes water rights from multiple sources, including the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers and key aquifers. Additionally, the settlement outlines a potential path for infrastructure funding to finally connect remote Navajo homes to water sources.  One in three Navajo homes lack access to running water.  Many have to haul water from communal wells for basic water needs, oftentimes up to 50 miles.

The settlement agreement is not final as of this writing; however, the parties are optimistic it will be reached.

More specific details about the proposal are available at The Arizona RepublicOpens in a new tab..


Navajo Code Talkers MemorialOpens in a new tab., 2014, John Fowler, Creative Commons License via Wikimedia Commons.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent Posts

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Skip to content