$73 million for Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project announced

Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project
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The Bureau of Reclamation announced Friday that it was awarding a $73 million contract Opens in a new tab.to Archer Western Construction of Phoenix, Arizona, to convey reliable drinking water to Navajo communities and the city of Gallup in northwest New Mexico. According to the Bureau, this award marks significant progress toward completing the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project.Opens in a new tab.

Intense Need.

The Navajo Nation, Jicarilla Apache and Gallup communities currently rely on a rapidly depleting groundwater supply.  The water quality is poor.

The Department of Interior says that the groundwater supply is inadequateOpens in a new tab. to meet the current and future demands of more than 43 Navajo chapters, the city of Gallup, and the Teepee Junction area of the Jicarilla Apache Nation. Groundwater levels for the city of Gallup have dropped approximately 200 feet over the past 10 years.  Over 40 percent of Navajo Nation households rely on hauling water to meet their daily needs. Inadequate water supply also impacts the ability of the Jicarilla Apache people to live and work outside the reservation town of Dulce.

“This is a significant milestone for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project and illustrates the Department of the Interior’s commitment to Tribal and rural communities,” said Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya TrujilloOpens in a new tab.. “We are excited to leverage the resources in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make further investments that ensure that clean, safe drinking water is a right in Tribal communities.”

Infrastructure Funding; Water Rights Settlement.

The contract will be for the construction of the Tsé Da’azkání and Tó Ałts’íísí pumping plants, both of which will located in the Navajo Sanostee Chapter in New Mexico’s San Juan County, and will pump San Juan River water that has been treated to Safe Drinking Water Act requirements. Each plant will have four equally sized pump and motor units with a combined capacity of approximately 51.5 cubic feet per second, or 23,100 gallons per minute. Work under this contract will begin this fall, with groundbreaking in early 2023 and completion expected by the fall of 2025.

“Reclamation is pleased to begin construction on the Tsé Da’azkání and Tó Ałts’íísí pumping plants,” said Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton. “With the Cutter Lateral delivering water to Navajo homes and construction of the San Juan Lateral now more than 50% finished, this construction contract continues our progress toward meeting the United States’ obligation to the Navajo Nation under the nation’s water rights settlement agreement on the San Juan River Basin in New Mexico, where over a third of households still haul drinking water to their homes. That importance has been underscored by our pandemic experience. A good water supply is essential to public health and safety.”

When the full project is completed, it will include approximately 300 miles of pipeline, two water treatment plants, 19 pumping plants and multiple water storage tanks.

Image:  What the Tsé Da’azkání Pumping Plant and Tó Ałts’íísí Pumping Plant will look like during construction (Bureau of ReclamationOpens in a new tab.).


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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