Arizona Supreme Court rules on state trust land water rights

September 12, 2012

The state’s highest court has ruled in a case affecting water rights to the Little Colorado and Gila rivers.  

The state of Arizona has long argued that Congress reserved water rights for state trust lands. But Wednesday, the Arizona Supreme Court disagreed.

Dozens of entities have claimed the right to water from the Gila and Little Colorado rivers in a legal battle that’s dragged on for decades. University of Arizona professor Robert Glennon says the state of Arizona’s argument threatened cities, farmers, and tribes and that if state trust lands had water rights, they would overwhelm other uses.

The Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling is similar to a previous decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court.

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