Vol. 31, No. 1
January-April 2023

Welcome to the Arizona General Stream Adjudication Bulletin

The Office of the Special Master publishes the Bulletin three times a year to provide information about proceedings in the Gila River Adjudication and the Little Colorado River Adjudication.



Office of the Special Master
Maricopa Superior Court
Central Court Building 3A
201 West Jefferson
Phoenix, AZ 85003-2205
Tel. 602-372-4115

The Bulletin relies on links so the entire document is available to our readers. Always check our Active Cases page for up-to-date notices and documents.

Appointment of Special Water Master Sherri Zendri

Susan Ward Harris has resigned from her role as Special Water Master after serving for nearly eight years and making significant strides in the Adjudications. We thank her immensely for her valuable insights and devotion over the years.

On March 20, 2023, Sherri Zendri began serving as Special Water Master of the Gila River and Little Colorado River Adjudications. Special Master Zendri has previously served as general counsel for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality as well as Director of Legal Services for the Arizona Lottery. Special Master Zendri also brings to the Adjudication Court more than a decade of experience working a geologist and hydrologist for private companies as well as Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Severance and Transfer Jurisdiction

In In re Paul L. Sale, case W1-11-3107, Special Master Harris filed a Final Report concluding that the Adjudication Court has jurisdiction over severances and transfers of water rights that have been added to the Proposed Catalog of Water Rights. Objections to the report must be filed by September 25, 2023.

Sequence of Future HSRs

On January 18, 2023, Special Master Harris held a status conference in cases CV 6417 and W-1, W-2, W-3, and W-4 about the sequence of development of future HSRs. Special Master Harris then ordered ADWR to file a report by May 26, 2023 estimating the cost and time commitment of preparing subflow zone reports for the Upper Salt River, Upper Gila River, and the Upper Little Colorado River Watersheds. A status conference will be held on June 23, 2023 to continue discussing the schedule for future HSRs and technical reports.

Gila River Adjudication

Verde River Watershed

In August 2022, ADWR filed a technical report regarding de minimis uses in the Verde River Watershed. In January 2023, the Special Master set a schedule in case W1-106 for resolving objections to this report. A trial in W1-106 is set for July 2024.

In February 2023, Special Master Harris granted a request from ADWR in case W1-106 to extend the deadlines for filing Preliminary and Final Hydrographic Survey Reports for subwatersheds in the Verde River Watershed.

Little Colorado River Watershed

Silver Creek Watershed

On April 18, 2023, Judge Blaney approved conclusions of law and findings of fact in the Final Report of the Special Master concerning summary procedures for de minimis uses in the Silver Creek Watershed.

As of May 2023, 8 cases in the Silver Creek Watershed have been initiated or re-initiated after a lengthy stay. One of these cases has been stayed and two have been dismissed, while the other five remain ongoing.

Navajo Reservation HSR

A trial to quantify reserved water rights for the Navajo Nation began on April 24, 2023 and will continue through the beginning of August 2023. This trial culminates Phase I of a three-phase proceeding concerning federal reserved water rights for the Navajo Nation in the Little Colorado River Basin. The current phase focuses on historic, present, and future stockponds, stock and wildlife watering, and domestic, commercial, municipal, and industrial (collectively "DCMI") water uses.


Link here to the calendar of Active Cases.

Site Requirements
This site requires a PDF reader (such as Adobe Reader or another PDF reader) to view and print the prepared documents.
return to top