News Release Archive

Reclamation to Begin Field Work for Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project

Media Contact: Stan Powers, (970) 385-6555,
Barry Longwell,

For Release: September 20, 2010

Reclamation's Four Corners Construction Office will begin field and exploration work for the western portion of the Navajo Gallup Water Supply Project on September 20, 2010 in the area from Twin Lakes N.M. to Ya-ta-hey junction in N.M. The purpose of the work is to investigate the engineering and geologic properties along the project alignment to proceed with the design of the water supply pipeline.

The field work will include ground surveys, geological and geophysical surveys, archaeological surveys and subsurface exploration. Approximately 30 ten-foot deep, temporary test pits will be excavated along the project alignment to identify the material the pipeline will be placed in as well as the depth to rock. This information will help determine the cost for excavation and the type of bedding and trench appropriate for the pipeline. Once this is has been determined, the test pits will be backfilled.

The Navajo Gallup Water Supply Project was authorized for construction by Public Law 111-11 as a major component of the Navajo Nation San Juan River Basin Water Rights Settlement in New Mexico. Once completed, the NGWSP will provide a reliable municipal, industrial, and domestic water supply to Navajo Nation communities, the city of Gallup, NM, Window Rock and Fort Defiance in AZ, the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, and a portion of the Jicarilla Apache Nation Reservation. These areas currently rely on a rapidly depleting groundwater supply that is of poor quality and inadequate to meet the current and future needs.

The NGWSP will divert a total of 37,764 acre-feet of water annually from the San Juan River and the existing Cutter Reservoir, treat the water at two water treatment plants, and deliver water to the cities and chapters via 260 miles of pipeline and 24 pumping plants. The project is designed to provide for the water needs of approximately 250,000 people in these Native American communities by the year 2040. The Navajo Nation water supply will come from water obtained through the Navajo Nation - New Mexico Water Rights Settlement, the Jicarilla Apache Nation water supply will come from water obtained through the Jicarilla Apache Nation - New Mexico Water Rights Settlement, and the City of Gallup will obtain its own water supply, which may come through a contract with the Jicarilla Apache Nation and/or the Navajo Nation.

The San Juan River diversion will occur downstream of Fruitland, just above the Public Service Company of New Mexico diversion structure. The water will be treated to drinking water standards at a treatment plant to be constructed near the diversion and piped along Highway N36 and south along U.S. Highway 491to provide water to the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project, the adjacent Navajo Chapters, and the city of Gallup. Pipelines will also be constructed to provide water to Crownpoint and the adjacent Navajo Chapters and to Window Rock, Fort Defiance, and adjacent Navajo Chapters.

The Gallup Regional System will be constructed to distribute water throughout the city and to deliver water to Navajo Chapters surrounding Gallup. Prior to completion of the entire project, non-project water will temporarily be transported through the Gallup Regional System to satisfy water demands of the surrounding chapters of Manuelito, Chichiltah, Red Rock, Bread Springs, Iyanbito, Church Rock, Pinedale, and Mariano Lake. A system of wells near Twin Lakes will provide the temporary water supply until facilities are constructed to treat and deliver water from the San Juan River. Construction of Project facilities from Twin Lakes to Ya-ta-hey is scheduled to start in 2011, depending upon appropriations from Congress and execution of numerous agreements and contracts.

On the eastern side, water will be diverted from the Cutter Reservoir, treated at a water treatment plant located near the base of the dam, and piped south along U.S. Highway 550 to provide water to adjacent Navajo Chapters, the Jicarilla Apache Nation, and additional Navajo Chapters south of the highway.

The authorizing legislation requires completion of construction of all NGWSP features no later than December 31, 2024.

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.