Pueblos and tribal reservations are located within most of the larger stream systems in New Mexico. Each has claims to rights to use the water in its stream. In New Mexico, Indian rights are significant because of their early priority dates, because of the large amounts of water rights claimed, or both. In some instances, such claims have the potential to displace a significant number of junior water rights.

Common law theories or doctrines pertaining to Indians continue to be judicially refined and to evolve so that discussing the nature and extent of “Indian water rights” is a complex topic.

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2008, updated 2013 by Darcy Bushnell. Contributors: Susan Kelly, DL Sanders, Tim Vollman.



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