ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An attorney for non-Native American irrigation districts in northwestern New Mexico says the group will appeal a state appeals court decision upholding a water rights settlement between the state and the Navajo Nation.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the panel’s opinion issued Tuesday rejected the challenge by more than 20 community water and irrigation districts in the San Juan River basin to the settlement that allocates water rights to the tribe.

Attorney Victor Marshall says he and his clients will appeal to the New Mexico Supreme Court, noting the ruling this week “destroys New Mexico’s remaining water supply.”

The water districts argued that the resources from the San Juan River aren’t needed for the Navajo Nation’s irrigation systems.

The appeals court said tribes are not required to prove immediate beneficial use.


Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com