Navajo Nation water supply project to receive first major pumping plant

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WASHINGTON, DC, April 7, 2014 -- The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $19.6-million construction contract to build the Tohlakai Pumping Plant, the first pumping plant for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, a major infrastructure project that will convey a reliable 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, N.M.

The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project is the cornerstone of the historic Navajo Nation Water Rights Settlement Agreement in the San Juan River Basin signed by the Department of the Interior, the Navajo Nation and the State of New Mexico in December 2010. In addition to the Navajo Nation, the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the city of Gallup, project participants include -- in conjunction with Reclamation -- the state of New Mexico, Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service.

"The Navajo-Gallup project will deliver clean, safe drinking water to tribal and rural communities, many of which have been hauling water over long distances for far too long," said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. "This contract is another important step in honoring U.S. commitments to Indian nations while providing lasting benefits for local economies and public health."

Construction of the Tohlakai Pumping Plant, to be located in McKinley County, is expected to take approximately 26 months to complete and provide approximately 140 direct and indirect jobs over that time. At the peak of construction, the Navajo-Gallup project will involve more than 600 jobs created at numerous project sites. Construction of the overall Navajo-Gallup project began in June 2012 and is on schedule for completion in 2024.

President Obama's proposed FY2015 budget requests an $80-million investment in the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, which, when completed, will have the capacity to deliver clean running water to a potential future population of approximately 250,000. Accordingly, "The overall project is a priority for the Navajo Nation which will provide the necessary water supply for future economic growth for the Navajo Nation in New Mexico," said Ben Shelly, President of the Navajo Nation. "The current pumping plant will help many Navajo families east of Gallup, N.M., get near-term groundwater for domestic use before the San Juan River water comes."

Initially, the Tohlakai Pumping Plant will have a two cubic-feet-per-second capacity, which will be used in the short term to provide groundwater from Navajo Nation wells until the overall project construction is complete, including completion of the pipeline from the San Juan River. As demand increases, additional pumps will be installed in the plant to increase the total capacity to approximately 36.5 cfs of treated surface water from the San Juan River to Navajo communities and the cities of Gallup and Window Rock, Ariz. 

Key components of the pumping plant contract include construction of an external facility structure, a horizontal split-case pump and associated electrical and mechanical equipment, a one-million-gallon water storage tank, a chlorine-feed building, and a short section of pipeline to include a highway crossing. A Request for Proposal for the construction of Tohlakai Pumping Plant was issued in late November 2013.

See also:

"Major water infrastructure project underway to deliver running water to Navajo Nation"

"Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project takes first steps"

"Interior Secretary Salazar finalizes historic New Mexico water rights settlement"

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