Hundreds of Navajo Nation homes might finally get running water

June 2020

When Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez held a town hall in May to discuss the coronavirus pandemic’s impacts on the Navajo Nation and the best use of federal relief funds, he identified a clear spending priority: the construction of water lines.

More than one third of Navajo Nation households lack running water, and the problem is even worse in Utah’s San Juan County where, according to the office of Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, half of Navajo Nation residents have to haul water. Families fill jugs at communal wells or buy bottled water from stores — both costly and time-consuming burdens that have become only more difficult during the pandemic.

The issue has received renewed attention in recent months, but leaders from the northern Navajo Nation were fighting to bring drinking water to the area long before the coronavirus hit, a process that requires not only finding funds to construct water mains but also securing the water rights to fill them.

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