On August 16, water judge James Wechsler filed an opinion approving the Navajo Nation water claim without a trial. The judge refused to allow the community ditches to call witnesses to testify at trial.
The 65 page opinion is long and technical. It sidesteps many of the key issues raised by the community ditches. For example, the judge ruled that it is irrelevant whether there is enough water in the San Juan River and the Animas River to supply other water rights holders and the Navajo Nation at the same time.
Since there will be no trial this fall, the court will enter a final order sometime in the coming weeks. After that, the case will go up on appeal to the New Mexico Court of Appeals and then ultimately to the New Mexico Supreme Court.
The San Juan Agricultural Water Users Association will hold a meeting on August 27 or 28 to discuss the situation. Details on the meeting will be posted soon.