SCOTUS agrees to hear Navajo Nation Colorado River water rights case
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving a long-running water dispute between the Navajo Nation and the federal government. The tribe says officials have failed to protect their water rights.
In 2003, the Navajo Nation sued the U.S. Department of the Interior, claiming that the government hadn’t lived up to past treaties entitling the tribe to water from the Colorado River. Last year, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and allowed the case to continue.
The 27,000-square-mile reservation spans parts of northern Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Nearly a third of Navajo families live without running water, which contributed to the heavy toll taken by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It comes as reservoirs on the Colorado River have dropped to historic lows amid a decades-long drought in the Southwest.