The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project was authorized for construction by the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, Title X Part III (Public Law 111-11 on March 30, 2009) as a major component of the Navajo Nation San Juan River Basin Water Rights Settlement in New Mexico.
This act authorized the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation to construct, operate, and maintain the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project in substantial accordance with the preferred alternative outlined in the Planning Report / Final Environmental Impact Statement.
The PR/FEIS was one of several prerequisites specified in the legislation that had to be completed prior to initiating construction of the project. In addition to completion of the PR/FEIS and associated record of decision, a water rights settlement agreement and settlement contract with the Navajo Nation had to be executed, as well as a cost-share agreement with the state of New Mexico, and required repayment contracts with project beneficiaries.
Reclamation completed the PR/FEIS in July 2009 and the ROD was signed by the Secretary of the Interior on October 1, 2009, approving Reclamation’s selection of the preferred alternative described in the PR/FEIS The Navajo San Juan Water Rights Settlement Agreement among the United States, Navajo Nation, and state of New Mexico was executed on December 17, 2010, and the Settlement Contract between Reclamation and the Navajo Nation was executed on the same date. These historic agreements represent a significant milestone in fulfilling long-outstanding water rights claims of the Navajo Nation while protecting existing water uses and providing for future growth within the amount of water apportioned to New Mexico by the Colorado River Compact.
The remaining precedent to construction agreements are currently in the process of being completed which will clear the way for Reclamation to begin construction on the project.