The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project is a major infrastructure project that once constructed, will convey a reliable municipal and industrial water supply from the San Juan River to the eastern section of the Navajo Nation, southwestern portion of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, and the city of Gallup, New Mexico via about 280 miles of pipeline, several pumping plants, and two water treatment plants.
These areas currently rely on a rapidly depleting groundwater supply that is of poor quality and inadequate to meet the current and future demands of more than 43 Navajo chapters, the city of Gallup, and the Teepee Junction area of the Jicarilla Apache Nation. Ground water levels for the city of Gallup have dropped approximately 200 feet over the past 10 years and over 40 percent of Navajo Nation households rely on hauling water to meet their daily needs. Inadequate water supply also impacts the ability of the Jicarilla Apache people to live and work outside the reservation town of Dulce.
The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project is designed to provide a long-term sustainable water supply to meet the future population needs of approximately 250,000 people in these communities by the year 2040 through the annual delivery of 37,764 acre-feet of water from the San Juan Basin. The project’s eastern branch will divert approximately 4,645 acre-feet of water annually with no return flow to the San Juan River. The project’s western branch will divert the remaining 33,119 acre-feet of water with an anticipated average annual return flow of 1,871 acre-feet.
The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, Title X Part III (Public Law 111-11) signed on March 30, 2009, provided the authorization to construct this important project as a major component of the Navajo Nation San Juan River Basin Water Rights Settlement in New Mexico. The act requires that all project features are completed no later than December 31, 2024.
On October 11, the Obama Administration announced the selection of 14 infrastructure projects to be expedited through the permitting and environmental review process including the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project. The latest project status information can be accessed on the Priority Projects Dashboard site.
The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project will provide a reliable long-term municipal and industrial water supply to the eastern section of the Navajo Nation, southwestern portion of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, and the city of Gallup, New Mexico.
These areas currently rely on rapidly depleting groundwater of poor quality and inadequate to meet current and future demands of more than 43 Navajo chapters including fort Defiance and Window Rock in Arizona, the city of Gallup, New Mexico, and the Teepee Junction area of the Jicarilla Apache Nation.
The project will divert 37,376 acre-feet of water annually from the San Juan River Basin and convey it via approximately 280 miles of pipeline, several pumping plants, and two water treatment plants.
This water supply will support a future population of approximately 250,000 people by the year 2040.
The project was authorized for construction by the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-11) on March 30, 2009 as a major component of the Navajo Nation San Juan River Basin Water Rights Settlement in New Mexico.
The legislation requires the completion of all project feature construction no later than December 31, 2024.
Based on October 2011 prices, the total indexed construction cost estimate for the project is approximately $995,000,000. P.L. allows for future indexing of costs based upon engineering indices.
The Claims Resolution Act (P. L. 111-291) provides access to up to $60 million in mandatory funding for the project in each of fiscal years 2012, 2013, and 2014. The mandatory funding is designated for several water rights settlements of which NGWSP is the first priority (in accordance with P.L. 111-11). In addition, $24.8 million was requested in the President’s fiscal year 2012 request.
The start of project construction is dependent on completion of various permitting, land acquisition, and contract activities and is scheduled to begin in 2012.
As one of the 14 infrastructure projects identified by the Obama Administration to be expedited through the permitting and environmental review process, Reclamation is working with federal, non-federal, and Tribal entities to facilitate construction activities as soon as possible.
Once project construction begins, it is anticipated that between 400-450 jobs will be created. As the project reaches the peak of construction activities, it is anticipated that a total of 600-650 jobs will have been created.
The overall project schedule is determined by the Project Construction Committee consisting of representatives from Reclamation, city of Gallup, Navajo Nation, Jicarilla Apache Nation, and state of New Mexico. The project schedule is driven by funding provided through Congress and state of New Mexico.
In addition to Reclamation, the city of Gallup, Navajo Nation, and Indian Health Service will simultaneously perform design and construction tasks for various project reaches under their own authorities in accordance with financial assistance agreements with Reclamation.
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.
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Title: Deputy Construction Engineer Organization: Bureau of Reclamation, Four Corners Construction Office Address: 1235 La Plata Highway City: Farmington, NM 87401 Phone: (505) 324-5027
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