The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project has a long history dating back over four decades. Throughout that time, a number of proposals have been studied to deliver water from the San Juan River and other sources of water to communities in the Navajo Nation and to the city of Gallup.
In December 1971, Public Law 92-199 provided specific authority to conduct feasibility studies for the “Gallup Project, New Mexico” culminating in a reconnaissance report dated October 1973.
A second study was completed in January 1984 that included expanded service to Navajo communities as well as to the city of Gallup based on a 1975 request by the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority to include municipal and domestic water supplies for various Navajo communities in the eastern part of the Navajo Reservation.
In September 1986, an appraisal-level estimate for a system with a main transmission line along Highway 371 was completed followed by completion in November 1993 of an appraisal-level study was conducted to deliver water from the Gallegos Reservoir, a planned feature of the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project. Planning activities for the study were directed by a steering committee chaired by the Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments with representatives from the Navajo Nation, city of Gallup, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Reclamation. The Jicarilla Apache Nation later joined as a project participant.
By 2000, five viable alternatives for the project had been developed and were evaluated in a draft planning report / draft environmental impact statement published in March 2007. The Final Planning Report/Final Environmental Impact Statement was filed with the Environmental Protection Agency on July 6, 2009, and the report was distributed to the public on the same date. The record of decision was signed on October 1, 2009.
With the signing of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, (Public Law 111-11) signed on March 30, 2009 Reclamation was authorized to construct the project pending completion of the FEIS and signed ROD; execution of a water rights settlement agreement and settlement contract with the Navajo Nation; execution of a cost-share agreement with the state of New Mexico; and execution of required repayment contracts with project beneficiaries.
The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project has evolved as a major infrastructure initiative to supply approximately 250,000 people approximately 37,800 acre-feet of municipal and industrial water per year by 2040.