The Gila Adjudication: It’s All About Water Rights

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What is the Gila Adjudication and why could its rulings regarding water rights in the Gila River System, which includes the Verde River, have the potential to impact both well users and municipal water users in a significant way?

Clyde Halstead
Clyde Halstead

Clyde Halstead, a water law attorney, will review the history of the Gila Adjudication, discuss major rulings that will affect water users in the Verde River Basin and explain how citizens can participate in the Adjudication to protect their water rights at a Zoom webinar presented by the Citizens Water Advocacy Group (CWAG) on Saturday, April 16, from 10am - noon. A question and answer period will follow the presentation. The Zoom link is posted in the “Next Meeting” section at .

The Gila Adjudication is a proceeding established 48 years ago to determine the rights to all surface water in the Gila River system, which encompasses the Verde River, Granite Creek, Mint Wash, Williamson Valley Wash, the Big Chino Wash and the Agua Fria River. The Adjudication is ongoing with new cases currently being processed and heard. Halstead will look at the ramifications of Gila Adjudication decisions as well as the nature of its rulings, which determine when a well is included in the Adjudication, what rights a well user has to surface water, and the distinction between ground and surface water. He will also explain the ramifications of the final court decrees regarding the ownership and characteristics of claimed water, including location of water uses, quantity of water used, and date of priority of the water rights.

Clyde Halstead is a Partner in the Prescott office of Carpenter Hazlewood Attorneys at Law, where he leads the firm’s Water Law Practice Group. Halstead has received the Award of Excellence from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the GUEST award from the City of Prescott, and the Award of Excellence from Navajo County. As an Arizona native who has grown up appreciating the importance of water and its necessity to our very existence, Halstead’s goal is to ensure Arizonans can trust their source of water to safely supply them, their children, and generations to come.

CWAG is a local citizens group advocating for a secure water future for Prescott and central Yavapai County and for the protection of the upper Verde River. For more information, visit, or email .

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