PHOENIX — Members of the state’s congressional delegation are pushing
legislation aimed at settling a dispute over water rights within a west-central
U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake introduced the Bill Williams River
settlement proposal earlier this week. Rep. Paul Gosar followed with similar
legislation in the House.
The lawmakers said a settlement would provide certainty to both Native American
and other water users in the region.
The dispute stems from concerns the Hualapai tribe had over plans by Freeport
Mineral Corp. to transfer water rights to its well field along the Big Sandy
River, a tributary of the Bill Williams River.
Under the settlement, Freeport would agree to cap its use from the well field
and recognize the rights of the tribe and other allottees on nearby parcels.