Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye
Published January 14, 2019
WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye is urging the 116th U.S. Congress to pass the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act, a bill that affirms the Navajo Nation’s rights to 81,500 acre-feet of water every year from the Utah portion of the San Juan River.
The Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act, which stems from negotiations between the U.S., the state of Utah and the Navajo Nation, died in the final months of the 115th Congress last fall. With new senators and representatives joining Congress this month, President Begaye hopes the bill is reintroduced and swiftly approved.
“The biggest challenge of living in the desert Southwest is access to quality water,” President Begaye said. “Our people on a daily basis haul water for cooking, washing and livestock. When the water becomes scarce, they travel longer distances to get water.”
President Begaye thanked Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, as well as the state and Congressional delegates who have worked to get the settlement bill passed.
“The Navajo-Utah water settlement is needed for Navajo people living in Utah,” President Begaye said. “People have been waiting for this for generations. Hopefully this Congress will get this bill passed and provide much-needed water for our people.”