Yesterday the federal Bureau of Reclamation awarded the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project a $10.75 million construction contract, states a Department of the Interior press release.
The grant opens doors for construction to begin on the major water infrastructure project this summer. Once completed, the project will provide a long-term sustainable water supply to more than 43 Navajo chapters, the city of Gallup, and the Teepee Junction area of the Jicarilla Apache Nation.
The project is designed to meet the future population needs of approximately 250,000 people in these communities by the year 2040 through the annual delivery of water from the San Juan Basin. The Basin, located in the Four Corners Region, spreads across northwestern New Mexico, southwest Colorado, and parts of Arizona and Utah.
Currently, more than 40 percent of Navajo Nation households rely on hauling water. Once the construction project starts, the first water delivery to Navajo communities could potentially occur in two to three years.
“This construction contract award marks a major milestone for this high-priority infrastructure project as we work to implement the historic water rights settlement that will deliver clean drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people and offer certainty to water users across the west,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in announcing the grant. “In the short term, this project is expected to create hundreds of high-paying construction jobs; in the long-term, the permanent water supply will vastly improve the quality of life and offer greater economic security for the Navajo Nation.”
The project is expected to include approximately 280 miles of pipeline, several pumping plants, and two water treatment plants.
Today’s contract was awarded to McMillen, LLC of Boise, Idaho to place approximately four miles of water supply pipeline and related facilities eight miles north of Gallup in McKinley County, New Mexico. Further construction will be performed by the authorities of four other entities after federal financial assistance agreements have been reached: the Bureau of Reclamation, the city of Gallup, the Navajo Nation and Indian Health Service.
The multiple contracts are expected to be awarded within the first year, creating about 400 to 450 jobs. That number will increase to a projected 600-650 jobs at the peak of construction, the release states.