Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act signed into law in ‘historic’ approval

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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (ABC4) — The Navajo Nation announced the approval of the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act that includes a $2.3 trillion omnibus appropriation package in a press release.

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The Act’s final approval will settle all claims by the Navajo Nation for water rights in Utah, confirm the Navajo Nation’s to 81,500 acre-feet of water each year from Utah’s Colorado River Basin, and authorize about $220 million to provide clean drinking water to Navajo communities in Utah.

The release states that over 40 percent of Navajo households in Utah don’t have running water or adequate sanitation. For example, in the Oljato community on the Arizona-Utah border, the only water source for 900 people is a single spigot miles away from any residence.

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“For many years, our Navajo people from the grassroots level all the way to the highest levels of our government have fought hard to negotiate our water rights and bring clean water to our communities in the state of Utah. We are overjoyed that the combined efforts of many have finally paid off with today’s historic signing of the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act. This is a victory for all of the Navajo families and leaders from the state of Utah and for the entire Navajo Nation,” said President Jonathan Nez.

“I am very thankful to all members of Congress who supported our water settlement as well as our federal partners, Navajo Nation Council, local chapter officials, the state of Utah, Governor Gary Herbert, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, the Navajo Nation Washington Office, the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, and many others. We accomplished this together!”

Vice President Myron Lizer also thanked those involved in the approval of the bill.

“This is a very proud moment for the entire Navajo Nation. This is a remarkable accomplishment and memorable moment for our Navajo people. I am elated and excited for our brothers and sisters in the state of Utah and for everyone who laid a hand to this great work over the years,” Vice President Lizer said. 

“We are very grateful of the support from Congress and President Trump, which will allow us to move forward with providing clean water for our Navajo people for many years to come. We also thank Representative Rob Bishop and Senator Mitt Romney for sponsoring the settlement bills, and we express our appreciation to the House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva, Representative Ben McAdams, Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Senator Tom Udall, former Senator Martha McSally, and all of the House and Senate leadership.”

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