The US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) announced that it has allocated $120m from Reclamation Water Settlements Fund for tribal water rights settlements.

The funding will support the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project in northern New Mexico and water projects on the Blackfeet Reservation in northwestern Montana.

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said: “This funding represents an investment in vital water infrastructure for tribal communities. Reclamation remains focused on meeting our Indian water rights settlement commitments and helping to fulfill the Department of the Interior’s Indian trust responsibilities.”

USBR allocates $100m for Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project

For the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, the USBR has allocated $100m. The project is considered to be a key component in the Navajo Nation Water Rights Settlement on the San Juan River in New Mexico.

When fully complete, the project will supply reliable municipal, industrial and domestic water supplies 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, New Mexico through 450km of pipeline, several pumping plants and two water treatment plants.

The project’s construction is underway and the first delivery of water is expected by this year end.

As per the Bureau of Reclamation, the project was designed to offer long-term sustainable water to meet the needs of the future population of nearly 250,000 people in the communities by 2040, through an annual delivery of 37,764 acre-feet of water from the San Juan Basin.

For the water projects in the Blackfeet Reservation in northwestern Montana, the USBR has allocated $20m.

The Reclamation, as per the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement Act, is authorised to plan, design and build facilities to supply domestic water and support irrigation. It also includes developing new water infrastructure on the Blackfeet Reservation, located in northwestern Montana.

The new water system, when fully built, will serve an estimated 25,000 reservation residents across the communities of Browning, Heart Butte, Babb, East Glacier and Blackfoot, along with rural farms and ranches.