The Gila River Community Water Rights Settlement and its Impact on Water Resource Management

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Water International




The Arizona Water Settlements Act of 2004 ended nearly four decades of water disputes between the Gila River Indian Community and the state of Arizona. This paper explores the historical background of the Gila River Indian Community and its claim to water rights, the evolution of tribal water rights laws that culminated in the historic settlement, and the consequences of the act on water resource management in the region. It also links the findings from this case to the broader field of indigenous water rights studies from other regions of the world.