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Interior secretary in NM to finalize water deal

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is in New Mexico to finalize the settlement of a decades-long water rights battle in northern New Mexico.

The Interior Department says Salazar met Thursday in Santa Fe with pueblo leaders from Tesuque, Nambe, Pojoaque and San Ildefonso for a signing ceremony.

The Aamodt water rights settlement was one of four included in legislation signed by President Barack Obama in 2011 that was aimed at delivering clean drinking water to tribes in New Mexico, Arizona and Montana.

Under the Aamodt agreement, a regional water system will be built to serve the four New Mexico pueblos and their neighbors.

The federal government, the state and Santa Fe County will share the cost of building the system. The price tag has been estimated at more than $177 million.