Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Feds' Water Suit Names 1,000 N.M. Landowners.

Byline: Tania Soussan Journal Staff Writer

More than 1,000 property owners in the Gallup and Ramah areas got a shock through the mail recently: They are named as defendants in a far-reaching federal water rights lawsuit.

The federal government filed the suit on behalf of itself and Native Americans to sort out all the ground water and surface water rights in the Zuni River basin, which includes parts of McKinley and Cibola counties. The case could validate some rights and invalidate others.

State Engineer Tom Turney is among those disturbed by the suit, and he is refusing so far to perform some of the groundwork the federal government wants.

Other big players in the case will include Zuni Pueblo and the Navajo Nation as plaintiffs and the city of Gallup and non-Indian irrigators as defendants. …

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