Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Thu, Jan. 27

Many Farms looks to capture rainwater for agricultural use and to recharge aquifers

Many Farms Lake and the Diversion Dam after the recent rainfall from the monsoon season on the Navajo Nation. (Photo courtesy of Navajo Nation Council)

Many Farms Lake and the Diversion Dam after the recent rainfall from the monsoon season on the Navajo Nation. (Photo courtesy of Navajo Nation Council)

MANY FARMS, Ariz. — With the recent amount of rainfall on the Navajo Nation, the Many Farms community is looking to re-examine the Diversion Dam to maximize the rainwater collected in times of drought.

Dr. Johnson Bia, irrigation supervisor from the Department of Water Resources led an on-site tour of the dam. The group visited the feeder gate, sluice gate concrete unit, Chinle wash upstream channels and the reservoir.

“The existing work to identify capturing water is a good recommendation and task at hand, including the water projects pending,” Navajo Nation Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay said.

He said, while the project may be over budget, they will seek recommendations from Congress and the Department of the Interior on the current status of projects — revitalizing irrigation, farmland conditions, infrastructure and water shed projects.

“We will request to BIA continued guidance in our initiatives as we collaborate with the chapters, Central Navajo Agency, and Navajo Nation Departments,” said Begay, who represents (Tachee/Blue Gap, Many Farms, Nazlini, Tselani/Cottonwood, Low Mountain).

Many Farms relies on the water run-off from the winter and monsoon seasons for farming practices and the leaders requested a study for water shed projects to be established within the community. The study will identify the prime locations to capture water to recharge the underground aquifers.

“The Navajo Nation also needs to develop watershed projects at certain parts of the reservation,” said DNR Director Dr. Rudy Shebala. “While we utilize surface water, watershed projects will help capture water and help recharge underground aquifers.”

The recapturing of rain water will reestablish Many Farms as the agriculture hub it once was in the 1930’s. The surrounding mountains divert rain water run-off to Many Farms and the natural drainage systems will need to be reexamined to determine the amount of water needed to support agricultural businesses.

Information provided by the Navajo Nation Council

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