Tensions Emerge as a Top Arizona Official Discusses Tribes’ Unresolved Water Claims

Many of Arizona’s Native tribes have long-standing claims to water rights that haven’t yet been settled, and a discussion of efforts to negotiate possible agreements took center stage at a meeting of Gov. Doug Ducey’s water council.

The meeting grew tense after Arizona’s top water official gave a presentation on the status of tribes’ unresolved water claims, and then didn’t allow leaders of four tribes to speak.

Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke said he sent letters a week ago to all 22 federally recognized tribes in Arizona inviting them to speak about the issue at upcoming meetings later this year.