PHOTO: Navajo Utah Commission members attend a special meeting regarding updates on the Navajo-Utah Water Rights Settlement.
Montezuma Creek, Utah – On June 30th, the Navajo Utah Commission (NUC) held a special meeting in Montezuma Creek at the Diné Professional Building. The Commission includes 8 members including 3 Navajo Nation Council Delegates members, namely Shaandiin Parrish (Chilchinbeto, Dennehotso, Kayenta), Herman Daniels, Jr. (Tsah Bii Kin, Navajo Mountain, Shonto, and Oljato), and Curtis Yanito (Mexican Water, To’likan, Teecnospos, Aneth, and Red Mesa). The meeting was facilitated by Patricia Blackhorn, Chairperson. Clarence Rockwell, Executive Director of the NUC was also present. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an update on the implementation progress of the Navajo-Utah Water Rights Settlement.
The meeting began with an update from Dr. Crystal Tulley-Cordova, Principal Hydrologist with the Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources - Water Management Branch. She described the State of Utah adjudication process, and the Hydrographic Survey Reporting is still in progress. She explained water infrastructure projects that were identified in 2014 to secure the $210 million Navajo - Utah Water Rights Settlement funding. She assured the Navajo Utah Commission that water infrastructure projects using the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement funding have yet to be determined. She highlighted there is a need to reassess the status of projects previously identified and determine the existing water infrastructure project needs given the funding opportunities for Navajo Utah water infrastructure projects funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Thereafter, Ms. Eunice Tso of ETD, Inc. gave a presentation regarding the Navajo Water Rights Commission’s public outreach effort. She outlined the components of the public outreach plan. She mentioned the importance of developing the public’s support for water projects. Mr. Clarence Rockwell mentioned that the NUC would like a more detailed workshop on this concept plan that would include Navajo Utah Chapter leaders in the Navajo language along with background information to help them fully understand the plan.
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