Pipeline will deliver San Juan River water to 43 chapters

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FARMINGTON — A $74.6 million financial award to further develop the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project was announced Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The bureau announced in a press release it has entered into an agreement with the Navajo Nation for the amount to be used to design and construct pipeline extensions to Crownpoint and Window Rock, Arizona.

Upon its completion in 2024, the project will consist of 280 miles of pipeline to deliver water from the San Juan River to 43 chapters on the reservation, the city of Gallup and the southwest portion of the Jicarilla Apache Nation.

Barry Longwell, construction engineer for the bureau's Four Corners Construction Office, said in an email Friday the agreement will be administered by the tribe's Department of Water Resources.

The release states the agreement enables the tribe to complete the Crownpoint Lateral, a 40.2-mile pipeline that would be situated along Navajo Route 9 and provide service to Coyote Canyon, Standing Rock, Nahodishgish, Crownpoint, Becenti and Littlewater.

The extension to Window Rock, known as Reach 12.3, will serve that community, along with St. Michaels and Fort Defiance, both in Arizona.

In addition to the 5.3 miles of pipeline, construction of Reach 12.3 includes a building for water chlorination processing and a water storage tank.

Design and permitting work for the Crownpoint Lateral and Reach 12.3 is set for this year, and construction is scheduled to begin in late 2020 with completion by 2024.

"Completion of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project is essential to meeting impending water demands, and this agreement goes a long way towards achieving that milestone," Brenda Burman, commissioner of the bureau, said in the release.

Longwell said a similar financial assistance agreement had been made in 2014 between the bureau and the Navajo Nation.

Under that agreement, the tribe is responsible for the design and construction of three reaches of the Cutter Lateral, which is the eastern branch of the project.

Construction on two sections of the Cutter Lateral have been completed, and work on a section known as Reach 26.1 is starting, Longwell said.

The design and construction phase for the Cutter Lateral Water Treatment Plant remains under development, he said.

Longwell added that construction is underway to install 30 miles of pipeline between Naschitti and Twin Lakes as part of the San Juan Lateral.

The bureau also has a financial assistance agreement with the city of Gallup for the design and construction of facilities related to the Gallup Regional System.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4626 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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