Massive federal bill includes Utah Navajo water rights funding

As part of the omnibus bill passed on December 21, Congress passed the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act.

The bill was sponsored by Utah Senator Mitt Romney with support in the House from all members of Utah’s delegation, but especially from Representatives Rob Bishop, John Curtis and Ben McAdams, as well as support from Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and the Navajo Nation Council.

The bill settles all current and future claims by the Navajo Nation for water rights within Utah.

Additionally, it ratifies the proposed water rights settlement between the Navajo Nation and the State of Utah. It also confirms the Navajo Nation right to deplete 81,500 acre-feet of water per year from Utah’s apportionment of Colorado River Basin water.

The bill also authorizes $220 million to provide water infrastructure for Navajo communities in Utah.

President Nez celebrated the announcement, saying, “The COVID-19 pandemic has punctuated our critical need for more clean water resources to keep our people safe and healthy.”

As of the press deadline, the bill awaited the signature of President Donald Trump.

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