WINDOW ROCK, AZ – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer signed Resolution CAP-18-22 into law, approving over $53 million to deliver reliable water sources to several communities on the Navajo Nation including Sanostee, Two Grey Hills, Tohatchi, Mexican Springs, Rock Springs, Tsayatoh, Standing Rock, and Tohajiilee. The projects will benefit over 10,000 residences. For the signing of the resolution, they were joined by Navajo Area IHS Director Roselyn Tso and Eastern Navajo Agency Council President Johnny Johnson.
The funding will also provide new pipelines to the communities of Sanostee, Two Grey Hills, and Rock Bridge/Mitten Rock to draw water from the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply transmission line. This new source of water will be used instead of the current source that has high arsenic levels, according to a report from the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA).
“With the actions taken today, we are addressing the high arsenic levels in water sources identified by NTUA in at least three communities,” said President Nez. “The remaining projects will provide reliable sources of clean water for homes for the long-term. With climate change and drought conditions becoming a greater concern around the world and particularly in the Southwest, we have to be proactive and build water infrastructure in our communities. With this approach, we are once again showing the Navajo Nation Council that we are here to work together and get more infrastructure funding approved through the American Rescue Plan Act. Legislation No. 0086-22 is ready for Council’s action and we need to move it forward to help our communities and our people.”
$1.8 million will also contribute to providing an urgently needed pipeline from the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority to the community of Tohajiilee, NM, which has experienced extensive water outages due to a water system that has failed at least four times in the last few years. The new seven-mile pipeline will deliver reliable clean water to the community.
“These are great investments that are desperately needed to address potential health issues and ensure reliable and stable sources of water in these communities,” said Vice President Lizer. “Over 10,000 Navajo residents will benefit from the funding approved today. As leaders of our Nation, we have to continue the momentum and move the ARPA bill across the finish line to support more basic infrastructure projects for our people.”
The presidential line-item veto authority was used to overstrike nearly $15 million in funding for four projects that are currently included in the proposal for Legislation No. 0086-22. If approved by the Council, the legislation will provide approximately $1 billion for water and wastewater projects, electricity for homes, broadband connectivity, housing for families, and other critical need-based infrastructure.