Here in Arizona, and in many other parts of the country, access to water is far more complicated than you might expect. Especially because of it’s relative scarcity compared to other parts of the country, the statutes that govern water resources and who may control them are very important, but often misunderstood or taken for granted.
Further complicating matters in Arizona are the various Native American tribes who claim rights to large areas of land, which often conflicts with other government entities. This can be particularly true when it comes to water use rights, which have been a bone of contention over recent years. One needs only to look to the recent headlines surrounding the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline to see just how water rights can become a point of great contention.
Recently, an agreement with the city of Phoenix brought running water back to the Gila river area, a welcome sight for the communities around it. For a number of years, the river bed has been dry, with much of the water diverted by dams. The deal ostensibly allows Phoenix to increase it’s underground storage ability, while also resolving some long-standing settlements over the water in the Gila.
Clearly, land use is rarely a simple matter. So many of the elements of one area affect surrounding areas, and are likewise affected, making many real estate transactions far more complicated than they might seem at first. If you are concerned about the land use implications of a real estate transaction, do not hesitate o consult with an experienced attorney who can help protect your rights while seeing the matter through to a fair conclusion.
Source: The Arizona Republic, “Gila River Indian Community agrees to water-storage deal with Phoenix that will restore flow to Gila River,” Alden Woods, March 22, 2017