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Navajo Dam Quick Facts

The San Juan River begins on the southern Continental Divide in the San Juan Mountains. Navajo Dam is in northeastern New Mexico about 34 miles east of Farmington. The dam is a rolled earthfill embankment containing three "zones" of selected cobbles, gravel, sand and clay, and is nearly three-quarters of mile long. Under normal conditions, water is released into the San Juan River downstream through the outlet works. Water from the river is used for irrigation, municipal and industrial purposes, by oil and gas fields and by thermal powerplants. Water is also released from Navajo Lake through a tunnel into an aqueduct for use on the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project. The Navajo Unit has helped to further manage the water resources of the Upper Colorado River Basin. By providing irrigation waters for lands on the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project, the Navajo Unit has helped meet irrigation requirements for the Navajo Nation. In addition, water releases help to maintain a continuous flow of water for power generation at Glen Canyon Dam.

Navajo Dam  
Type Zoned earthfill
Construction period July 1958 - Sept. 1962
Location San Juan River, 34 miles east of Farmington, NM
Structural height 402 feet (123 meters)
Crest length 3,648 feet (1,112 meters)
Material used

26 million cubic yards (19.8 million cubic meters)

Spillway width 138 feet (42 meters) [chute section] ; 195 feet (59.4 meters) [stilling basin]
Spillway capacity 34,000 cubic feet per second (254,320 gallons per second)
Navajo Reservoir  
Reservoir location 35 miles (56 kilometers) up San Juan River, 13 miles (21 kilometers) up Pine River, 4 miles (6 kilometers) up Piedre River
Surface area when full 15,610 acres (6,317 hectares)
Total capacity at full elevation 1,708,600 acre-feet (2,107 million cubic meters)
Depth of water at dam when full 388 feet (118 meters)


Last updated: November 25, 2008