Western Agency Council establishes new Subcommittee on Water Issues

TUBA CITY — Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan attended a special meeting of the Western Agency Council at the Tohnanees Dizi Chapter house in Tuba City on Nov. 12.

The specific purpose of the meeting was to discuss water issues and to hear a report from the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources on issues pertaining to use of the C-aquifer and water development for the Western Agency communities.

During the special meeting, a subcommittee comprised of Western Agency Council members was established to further look into the issues that were brought up, including delivery of water to residents within the agency.

The subcommittee is expected to deliver a report regarding funding sources at a future meeting of the agency council. Committee members and alternates from five districts were appointed with Thomas L. Cody, the Chapter president for Leupp, as chairperson.

Arvin Trujillo, Natural Resources division director, gave a presentation on the water line projects that the division is currently working on for the Western Agency Chapters and water quality of various regions on the Navajo Nation.

Members of the audience were also given the opportunity to address their concerns with water issues. Some brought up issues of fairness in allowing a company to utilize water while residents must haul water and pay higher prices to do so.

Evelyn Acothley, Council delegate for Cameron, Bodaway-Gap and Coppermine, told the presenters that the communities she represents are in dire need in water and need to be included in the water demand plan.

Leonard Chee, Council delegate for Birdsprings, Leupp and Tolani Lake Chapters, noted that people from the Western Agency area are becoming more astute to water rights issues and environmental issues.

Trujillo said that while the Navajo Nation would like to develop water projects, the reality is that there are not enough funds for all the needs and that the Navajo Nation is looking to maximize resources in developing projects. For example, the nation should work on regionalization of water lines in order to obtain funding to complete the projects, which cost millions of dollars.

The Western Agency Council will next meet on Dec. 17 in Flagstaff.

(Karen Francis is Public Information Officer for the Navajo Nation office of the Speaker.)

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