Water rights pact goes before Navajo lawmakers

Flagstaff, Arizona (AP) November 2010

Navajo lawmakers are meeting in a special session this week to consider a proposed water rights settlement.

The Tribal Council had tabled the proposal to allow for public hearings and more debate among themselves.

The settlement would give the tribe 31,000 acre-feet of water a year from the Colorado River, the unappropriated surface flows from the Little Colorado River and nearly unlimited access to two aquifers beneath the reservation.

The proposal is a result of more than a decade of negotiation among the Navajo and Hopi tribes, the state and its major water providers, cities, ranches and others.

Critics want the council to hold off on voting so that the settlement can be explained further to communities.