Animas-La Plata, Four Corners: water rights and the Ute legacy
In 1868, after wars and skirmishes with the rapidly spreading Anglo-American population, the Ute Indian tribes moved to southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, the so-called Four Corners area, where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet (Figure 7.1). The Utes expected the new reservation to provide sufficient land and water. Their lands, however, were reduced and water was anything but plentiful. One hundred and fifty years after relocating to the Four Corners area, the Utes will receive a water supply from the Animas and La Plata rivers, the two major surface water sources, which settled their water claims.