Supreme Court says treaty does not require feds to secure Navajo water rights


Last updated 7/14/2023 at 6:50am

Devon Cordell/ Cronkite News

The average Navajo uses 7 gallons of water a day for household needs-a 10th of average U.S. consumption, court documents said.

WASHINGTON-A divided Supreme Court ruled recently that the federal government is not required to take "affirmative steps" to guarantee water for the Navajo Nation beyond the water rights that were granted in an 1868 treaty.

The 5-4 ruling said that if the court agreed with the Navajo, it could lead to a situation where the government is forced to build "pipelines, pumps, wells or other water infrastructure" that were not specified in the treaty.

"It is not the Judiciary's role to rewrite and update this 155-year-old treaty," Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote for the majority. "Rather, Congress...

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