A ruling on the settlement agreement reached last month in the years-long Animas-La Plata Project legal battle over water rights to Lake Nighthorse was continued to Jan. 15.
Chief District Judge Gregory Lyman’s ruling was postponed until next month because a signed agreement to the settlement is still needed from several federal parties involved, including the Department of Justice.
Last month, stakeholders reached the settlement, which saved all parties from an arduous trial over whether the Southwestern Water Conservation District’s continued use of the water from Lake Nighthorse for irrigation is consistent with state and federal law.
The SWCD had conditional rights to the water through a temporary permit.
The litigation sprang from groups, including the Animas Conservancy District, San Juan Water Commission, Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe, that were opposed to the SWCD’s continued use of water from Lake Nighthorse, which was designated to fulfill the water needs of native communities and water districts in Colorado and New Mexico.
Details of the settlement are unclear until the judge delivers his ruling in January.
Court is scheduled to reconvene at 2 p.m. Jan. 15 in Lyman’s courtroom.