WASHINGTON D.C., Feb. 3, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — The U.S. Department of the Interior is allocating nearly $580 million this year to continue fulfilling Native American water rights claims, including $39.1 million to bring running water to the Navajo Nation in Utah.
The funding comes from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Reclamation Water Settlements Fund, according to a news release Thursday from the Interior Department.
“Water is a sacred resource, and water rights are crucial to ensuring the health, safety and empowerment of tribal communities. Through this funding, the Interior Department will continue to uphold our trust responsibilities and ensure that tribal communities receive the water resources they have long been promised,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said.
Haaland noted that some tribes “have been waiting for this funding for decades.”
The Navajo-Utah Water Settlement is one of 34 Native American water rights settlements congressionally enacted prior to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law being signed Nov. 15, 2021.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, tweeted about the settlement after the funding allocation was announced, saying it’s “bringing running water to Navajo Nation in Utah.”
“During bipartisan infrastructure bill negotiations, I was proud to finally get funding for the Navajo Utah Water Settlement across the finish line,” Romney said.
President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests more than $13 billion directly in tribal communities across the U.S., including $2.5 billion to implement the Indian Water Rights Settlement Completion Fund.
The Interior Department will allocate nearly $460 million from the fund this year for Native American water rights settlements, along with $120 million from the Reclamation Water Settlement Fund.
A full list of Native American water rights settlements receiving funding in 2023 is available on Interior Department website.