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Navajo Nation Seeks Help to Fix Pipes

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Navajo Nation Seeks Help to Fix Pipes

Navajo Nation Seeks Help to Fix Pipes

Indian Health Service

The Navajo Nation is the largest reservation in the country. It spans across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Navajo Nation in northern Arizona has sought help from state and federal agencies to repair broken water lines. About 10,000 people are experiencing severe water shortages.

The tribe’s president declared a state of emergency more than a week ago. Colder than usual temperatures have caused main pipes to freeze. Navajo Tribal Utility Authority’s Rex Kontz said this week’s thaw means now they’re dealing with muddy roads and unstable pipe joints.

"People are referring to this as an incident like a tornado came and touched down and left," Kontz said. "We’re still in the midst of it. And we’re all crossing our fingers that we won’t get another big snowstorm or any minus-degree weather."

The National Weather Service expects more freezing temperatures and snow in the region by the weekend. Kontz said it will cost $2.8 million to repair and another $4.8 million to stabilize.

Five tank trucks are delivering water to those in need, but the Navajo Nation covers an area that is the size of West Virginia.

Laurel Morales was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2011 to 2020.