Navajo Community in Westwater Subdivision Receives Electricity for First Time

Navajo Westwater Electricity
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Utah Lt. Gov. Diedre Henderson, and Utah State Treasurer Marlo M. Oaks talk with Navajo residents in the Westwater Subdivision near Blanding, UT.

WINDOW ROCK, AZ – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer announced the completion of electricity connections for 19 homes of Navajo families that reside within the Westwater Subdivision, located in the southwestern portion of Utah. Upon completion of the work later this month, a total of 27 homes will be electrified. 

The Westwater community, a 120-acre plot, is adjacently located west of the City of Blanding, UT, and approximately 48 miles north of Aneth Chapter. The Navajo Nation purchased the subdivision in 1986 and families lived without basic infrastructure for over 35 years. 

“This is life-changing for these families who have lived without electricity in their homes for so many years, some who have never lived with electricity at all,” said President Nez. “Electricity not only provides lighting, heating, and other basic amenities, but it also opens doors to more opportunities. A couple of years ago, we welcomed Lt. Gov. Henderson to Westwater to visit with the families and to see their homes and the challenges they face. We are very grateful and appreciative to everyone who helped to finally deliver electricity to these homes, including Gov. Cox, Lt. Gov. Henderson, NTUA, and many others. The work doesn’t end here – the next step is to deliver running water to these homes.”

Within the past two years, the Nez-Lizer administration worked closely with Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, members of the Utah State Senate and House of Representatives, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Utah Division of Indian Affairs, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and community members to help bring electricity to the Westwater Subdivision. 

“My heart swelled with joy when I heard the news,” said Lt. Gov. Henderson. “Commonplace in Blanding, the sight of power lines swooping from house to house in Westwater marks the fulfillment of a long-overdue promise to the Diné just outside Blanding. I won’t understate the difficulty of this project, but I can’t overstate the level of collaboration and generosity that got us here. I’m grateful for so many helping hands and deeply happy for the residents of Westwater.”

In August, President Nez and Vice President Lizer approved additional appropriations of $2.5 million for the Westwater Subdivision, along with $3 million that was previously approved through the American Rescue Plan Act. In March of last year, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and the State Legislature also approved $500,000 in the state’s FY 2022 budget to help the efforts for water and electricity for the Westwater Subdivision.

“The Nez-Lizer administration prioritized this project to get water and electrical infrastructure to the families that reside in the Westwater Subdivision through partnerships with the State of Utah,” said Vice President Lizer. “We appreciate Lt. Gov. Henderson and all of the partners’ support as we moved this important project forward. For over 35 years, the community has worked hard to get to this point. Within less than one mile away, Blanding residents enjoyed running water and electricity, but now our Navajo citizens can also enjoy those basic necessities. It is a fundamental right for our Navajo citizens to receive the same services and resources.”