Editorial: Bill represents best hope for Navajo-Hopi water deal

"Apparently, when it comes to tribal water rights, a bird in the hand was not worth two in the bush.

Or something like that.

If we sound a little tentative on the subject, it's because of the mixed messages that were coming from all over the Rez as soon as U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl introduced the Little Colorado River settlement bill in February.

Now that the Navajo Nation Council has voted to oppose the bill as well as the underlying settlement, it's uncertain how or if any of the agreement's terms can be salvaged.

If not, that would seem to be a loss for all sides (except perhaps water rights attorneys). Nearly 30 water users in the Little Colorado River Basin, including the city of Flagstaff, signed off on the settlement after years of negotiations. Without a negotiated deal, the dispute over river and aquifer rights likely will return to state court, where it was previously mired for decades. Why Navajo and Hopi leaders think they will get a better deal in a non-reservation legal venue is a mystery."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Neither Rez nor Flag served by taking water dispute back to court (The Arizona Daily Sun 7/27)

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