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Navajo, Hopi Discuss Water Rights Issues

Navajo, Hopi Discuss Water Rights Issues
June 08
11:36 2016

Representatives from the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe are continuing to work toward developing shared principles for sharing water rights from the Little Colorado River Basin.

The tribes held their fifth joint meeting in Flagstaff last week.

“The teams are making good progress in developing an agreement that originates with the tribes, rather than with other parties as occurred with past agreements,” Hopi Vice Chairman Aldred Lomahquahu, Jr., said.

“This is a refreshing new approach, and not simply a rehash of S. 2109 or any previous settlement draft.”

Lomahquahu, who is a member of the Hopi Water Team, said that it is important for the two tribes to “find common ground” on the water rights issue.

“Time is of the essence,” Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said.

“The Navajo Nation would like to see a water settlement passed soon, so that we are not sitting here 30 years from now discussing the same issues with even less water to negotiate over.”

The tribal water teams have agreed to discuss a variety of issues relating to the Tribes’ water rights claims, focusing first on developing guiding principles for their negotiations.

“Federal and state candidates looking for Navajo Nation support in the fall must understand that this water settlement is a priority for the Navajo Nation,” Begaye added.

The water teams previously discussed shared, on-reservation water resources such as washes, aquifer resources, and springs.
In the latest meeting they discussed Little Colorado River main stem and Colorado River main stem issues.

The teams continue to work together diligently, consistent with the notion of “Two Nations, One Voice.”

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