Poverty and Public Health
Thu May 9, 2013
Navajo Nation Funds Water Projects
With drought affecting much of the southwest, the Navajo Nation is working to bring water to it's citizens with the tribal government recently approving over $8-million dollars for water infrastructure projects.
The Navajo Nation is roughly the size of West Virginia, has a population of around 170,000 people, and much of the Nations citizens are in need of water.
"Between 30 to 40% of our homes still do not have electricity, and for water that's even higher, so there's a great need," says Ernie Zah, communications director for Navajo president Ben Shelley. He says current funding will take care of some needs, but not all. "Anytime we spend money to build water infrastructure there's always going to be the communities that are asking: 'what about us?' and that makes a difficult decision for us."
Zah says the recent passage of a spending package to dig water wells, construct water lines, create conservation plans, and study water supplies will go a long way to securing the resource for Navajo citizens. He also says more money is expected in the future from state and federal sources, pending the success of this initial round of funding. Zah says this will be especially important given an ongoing drought.