WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly approved an $8.6 million measure to bring water development projects and plans to several Navajo Nation communities.
The money would come from the Navajo Nation's Undesignated Unreserved Fund Balance (UUFB).
"Water infrastructure is very important to my administration. Though I am concerned about maintaining money in our UUFB, these projects will bring water to our Navajo people and plan for future water projects," Shelly said. "Navajo communities need water to be healthy physically and economically."
Most of the $8.6 million will pay for water wells, waterlines and studies in the Arizona portion of the Navajo Nation. There is one project in New Mexico, which will pay for a waterline from Coyote Canyon to Lake Valley and would complement the Navajo Gallup Water Supply project, a $1 billion water project, which Congress approved as part of the Navajo San Juan River Water rights settlement in New Mexico.
"The studies are needed so we can ask for different types of funding from different sources. Many entities, like the U.S. Department of Agriculture need studies to justify the need," Shelly said. "Our studies will do that. Also, they will help Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and Indian Health Service to compose long term plans for water needs and usage."
As vice president of the Navajo Nation, Shelly spearheaded lobbying of the New Mexico legislature to spend more than $30 million dollars on water development for Navajo communities.
"I want the Navajo Nation Council, the states and Washington to know that Navajos are serious about water development. It is a basic requirement to develop our Nation," Shelly said.
The $8.6 million appropriation will pay for design and construction of a new Rough Rock water well, construction of a waterline east of Dennehotso, Ariz. that will serve 62 homes and Leupp-Dilkon and Kayenta regional water supply development projects, among others.