Northern Arizona Tribal Water Rights – Next Steps

Northern Arizona Tribal Water Rights – Next Steps

Remember, an agreement is only as good as the paper it’s printed on unless followed by concrete action.

Water is life. Without it, our communities suffer. Recently, the Navajo Nation, Hopi, and San Juan Southern Paiute tribes approved a historic water rights settlement. They are asking Congress for over $5 billion. This is the largest request ever made for tribal water rights, and it shows how serious the water crisis is in the Southwest.

For generations, these Indigenous people have fought for water. Nearly a third of homes on the Navajo and Hopi lands don’t have running water. This settlement would bring water to many of these homes. It includes building a pipeline from Lake Powell. The pipeline will deliver water to remote areas, helping farmers and families.

Our tribes are often left out of important decisions. This settlement is a step toward justice. It will help us fulfill our role as stewards of the land. Even now, the Biden administration is preparing to impose reductions in water supplies to states (New York Times).


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However, securing water rights is just the first step. It’s like getting a driver’s license—it doesn’t guarantee we have a car, fuel, maintenance, or insurance. Water rights must be followed up with action. We need to ensure the infrastructure, funding, and long-term maintenance to truly benefit from these rights.

Without action, we might have to return our funds, as the Navajo Nation has experienced with housing and CARES/ARPA funding. Despite receiving $1.66 billion in federal funds since 1998, the Navajo Housing Authority has produced fewer than 100 dwellings per year over the past decade (AZ Central). Additionally, the Navajo Nation faces a deadline to spend or obligate its $2.1 billion in U.S. American Rescue Plan Act funds by December 31, 2024 (Navajo Times).

Looking ahead, we must be part of the solution. Supporting this settlement is just the beginning. We must continue to advocate for our rights and ensure our voices are heard. Water is essential for our health and future prosperity.

Let’s secure our future together. Advocate for water rights and follow up with action now. Ensuring water rights for Native American tribes is crucial for our future.


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