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In the latest development in an ongoing dispute over development plans for an Arizona ski resort, a judge has ruled in favour of the resort to be allowed to use re-processed and purified waste water for snowmaking on its slopes.

Environmentalists were concerned over the damage that would be caused by building pipelines to access reclaimed water for snowmaking, but lost out in the latest legal case against further development of the Arizona Snowbowl.

The battle against development and snowmaking by the ski resort has been ongoing for almost a decade, fronted by Native American tribes who hold the area sacred. The tribes believe that spreading snow made from reprocessed waste on their sacred ground is deeply disrespectful and in violation of their religious rights. They ultimately lost a long legal case which was taken to various levels of legislative power in the United States.

Arizona Snowbowl say that snowmaking will begin in winter 2011-12. However environmentalists have vowed to appeal the decision, raising the prospect of more years of litigation.

Treated wastewater is used for snowmaking at several ski resorts worldwide and is claimed by its proponents to be more environmentally friendly than tap or rainwater.