Alternative Title

Zuni Heaven Water Rights Settlement Act of 2003


Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation


Zuni Heaven Settlement


Zuni Indian Reservation




Lower Colorado Region

Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC)

Lower Colorado River Basin


In Re General Adjudication of All Rights to Use Water in the Little Colorado River System and Source, CV 6417, Apache County Superior Court of the State of Arizona

Document Type

Federal legislation


United States

Publication Date



Federal Legislation: Zuni Indian Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2003, PL 108-34, 117 Stat. 782 (June 23, 2003). Parties: Zuni Tribe, US, AZ. The Act ratifies the Settlement Agreement concerning Zuni Indian Tribe water rights in the Little CO River basin, AZ. It authorizes appropriations for acquisition of water rights and associated lands and, for fiscal years 2004 through 2006; and for actions necessary to restore, rehabilitate, and maintain the Zuni Heaven Reservation, including the Sacred Lake, wetlands, and riparian areas. The US shall take legal title of specified lands in the Gila and Salt River Base and Meridian into trust for the benefit of the Zuni Tribe. The Act declares that these lands shall not have federal reserved rights to surface water or groundwater but may have state law rights. It requires the Zuni to make payments in lieu of all current State, county, and local ad valorem taxes that would otherwise apply if those lands were not held in trust. The Tribe, AZ, and Apache County will enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement for the management of the lands. The Act establishes and authorizes appropriations of $19.250M to the Zuni Indian Tribe Water Rights Development Fund, to be allocated among specified activities, including the acquisition of water rights for 2,350 acre-feet per year and restoration of the Zuni Heaven Reservation. The Tribe shall create a Tribal management plan for the Fund. The water may be put to any use. The Tribe shall adopt a water code. Zuni Heaven has been in the AZ Superior Court, County of Apache in Civil No. 6417, In re General Adjudication of All Rights to Use Water in the Little Colorado River System and Source since 1979. [Source:]


Federal legislation: 18 pages.

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