News Release Archive

Reclamation Begins Field Work for Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project

Media Contact: Brent Uilenberg, (970) 248-0641,
Barry Longwell,

For Release: February 16, 2011

Reclamation's Four Corners Construction Office began field and exploration work for the eastern portion of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project on February 14, 2011 on Cutter Lateral Reach 22 from Cutter Dam to Huerfano, NM. 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.

This portion of the project begins at Cutter Dam and continues southwest down Cutter Canyon, across Largo Canyon, continuing southward paralleling Blanco Canyon, and then southwest to Huerfano NM, near Highway 550. The field work will consist of pre-construction activities along the alignment for approximately 26 miles of water pipeline.Reclamation and the Navajo Nation will collaboratively obtain land ownership information, right of entry permits, and other information required for the necessary right-of way- application for the project. Temporary test pits will be excavated along the project alignment to allow Reclamation to gather information required for pipeline design.

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.

On the eastern side, water will be diverted from the Cutter Reservoir, treated at a water treatment plant and piped south and west near U.S. Highway 550 to provide water to adjacent Navajo Chapters, existing NTUA water systems, and the Jicarilla Apache Nation.

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.