Ak-Chin lawsuit says irrigation districts threaten water right

Groundwater is pumped into one of the canals managed by the Maricopa-Stanfield Irrigation and Drainage District./Kevin Reagan/PinalCentral

By Pinal Central

Saying more contaminated groundwater is making its way into their regular water supply, the Ak-Chin Indian Community on Friday sued two local irrigation districts in order to “protect water rights.”

The Arizona District Court lawsuit against the Maricopa-Stanfield and Central Arizona irrigation and drainage districts alleges that the districts have been damaging crops and the community’s water supply by introducing its own groundwater into the Central Arizona Project system.

That groundwater, the tribe claims, is high in nitrates, salinity and other contaminants that have made the overall water supply that the community relies on less pure. This, they wrote, is a violation of the Ak-Chin Settlement Act of 1984, which promised 85,000 acre-feet of CAP water suitable for agricultural use.

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