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City of Flagstaff approves tribal water rights settlement

A view of a desert landscape with a few scattered buildings, and a tall snow-capped blue peak in the distance.
City of Flagstaff
The City of Flagstaff purchased Red Gap Ranch in 2015, which comes with a supply of water from the C-aquifer, for future water development.

The Flagstaff City Council passed a resolution Tuesday to approve a tribal water rights settlement between the city, the federal government, and the Navajo, Hopi, and San Juan Southern Paiute tribes.

The settlement ends years of litigation over surface and groundwater rights and has been approved by the governments of the Indigenous nations involved, though it still needs to be confirmed by Congress.

Part of the agreement involves allowing the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe to access water provided by Flagstaff’s planned future development of a pipeline to Red Gap Ranch, which the city purchased in 2015 as part of its water planning. The agreement directs city staff to seek funding for that project.