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Water Shortage for Seven Navajo Chapters

Water Shortage for Seven Navajo Chapters
July 19
15:03 2021

Water Woes in Teesto, Dilkon…

By John Christian Hopkins

Several District 7 Navajo Nation chapters – and surrounding communities – are facing a water shortage!

District 7 includes Teesto, Dilkon, Indian Wells, Greasewood Springs, White Cone, Low Mountain and Jeddito.

The shortage caused the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) to shut down domestic water allocation to several chapters, which caused low water supply for watering points and facility usage.

Water points at Dilkon Chapter and Teesto Chapter reached low levels that caused NTUA to shut down the water allocation in order to replenish the system, according to Council Delegate Elmer Begay.

 “This drought is not a new emergence, it has plagued the southwestern part of the reservation for the last 14-15 years,” Begay said.

Begay believes that the designation of ARPA funds to the Navajo Nation will provide new opportunities to solve the drought problem that were previously limited by the availability of the funds.

Both Dilkon and Teesto chapters are the last to be served on the Greasewood Water Line. They are also among the fastest growing communities in terms of population, which further strains the water availability in the region.

These water points require physical monitoring, rather than automatic measurement by a remote system.

Begay expressed concern over commercial water leases the Navajo Nation Water Department the department issued to various construction companies.

Should they be temporarily suspended in order to preserve the remaining alluvial water supply, he wondered.

These commercial water leases, which are calculated depending on the monthly rainfall average and drought conditions, are specific to a water well in Dilkon.

With contractors in the region extracting large amounts of water for their uses, it impacts the livestock well that was reported to only have one or two feet of available water per day.

This left many community members, ranchers, and Navajo residents to be without access to water.

Eventually, the leases affected the domestic water supply for chapters within District 7, except for Greasewood Chapter, when the water was shut off.

Shutting off the water affects the chapters’ daily operations, meetings, and their services as they cannot allow people to utilize the restroom. It also hampered the delivery of water services to families who depend on them.

Despite the water outages in Dilkon, Teesto, White Cone, Indian Wells, Jeddito Chapters and Birdsprings Chapter, the Greasewood Chapter opened its watering point to those in the region if they have a NTUA card.

Alternative watering points are located in Winslow and other border towns in the area.

The water point in Dilkon will need to go under drought restrictions that involve limiting hours of usage and restricting the gallons per load to avoid completely draining the core system before it has time to replenish.

“I believe that through traditional methodology, in conjunction with the establishment of new infrastructure, we can begin finding answers to the drought,” Begay said.

Water Shortage for Seven Navajo Chapters - overview

Summary: Water Shortage for Seven Navajo Chapters

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