Navajo lawmakers advocate for funding to complete irrigation project
FARMINGTON — Navajo lawmakers met Friday with a federal official to advocate for federal funding to complete the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project, according to a press release from the Office of the Speaker.
Speaker LoRenzo Bates was among five tribal council delegates who met with Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn to discuss the irrigation project, which supplies water to the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry.
According to the release, Bates told Washburn that the obligations to complete the project are overdue, and the tribe continues to lose revenue each year due to the lack of funding to complete the system.
Delegate Alton Joe Shepherd said completing the project is a top priority. He also referenced its economic potential that could benefit the tribe in terms of revenue and employment.
Tsosie Lewis, chief executive officer for NAPI, said the cost to complete the project comes to more than $700 million.
Tribal officials also stated that the annual funding has decreased from $25 million to $3.5 million over the decades, according to the release.