News Release Archive

Contract Awarded for Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project Cultural Resources Work

Media Contact: Lisa Iams, (801) 524-3673,

For Release: September 29, 2011

The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $5.5 million contract to Paleo West of Farmington, NM for cultural resources work necessary to support construction of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project.

"This contract will initiate one of the largest cultural resource management projects in New Mexico," said Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor. "As we move forward with project construction to provide Native American communities a long-term sustainable water supply, we must ensure maximum protection and preservation of the many historic and prehistoric sites in the project region."

The two focus areas for the cultural resources work in New Mexico are along the San Juan River and within the Chaco Canyon resource area toward Navajo chapters along Highway 491. These areas have some of the highest prehistoric site densities anywhere in the country. Paleo West will perform a variety of work including completion of a cultural resources data investigation and comprehensive report; development and implementation of a research design for data recovery and mitigation for sites impacted by construction activities; development of a geographic information system database; cultural resource site marking and monitoring during construction; historical documentation and findings reports; and development of a public outreach program to disseminate information.

Not only will the cultural resources work to be done in support of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project benefit overall progress on the project, it will provide invaluable knowledge about the origins of Navajo settlement within the San Juan River Basin and the role of Chaco Canyon in the early prehistory of the region.

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.

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