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Navajo Nation Still Recovers From Water Crisis

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Navajo Nation Still Recovers From Water Crisis

Navajo Nation Still Recovers From Water Crisis

Coconino County

Coconino County sent its 5,000 gallon water tanker to the Navajo Nation to deliver water to people's homes.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Despite the recent snowstorm in northern Arizona, the Navajo Nation has mended most pipes and has delivered water to the 10,000 people experiencing shortages.

The tribe has requested federal funds. The Federal Emergency Management Agency sent assessors to the reservation last week. They will now decide whether to reimburse the tribe for the cost of repairing the burst water lines.

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Deputy General Manager Rex Kontz said it will cost $2.8 million to repair and another $4.8 million to stabilize the weak infrastructure.

"The immediate action is to get everyone’s lines flowing again and then we’ve put aside major repairs so that would be the next step," Kontz said. "But we’ll try to move out of crisis mode and get water flowing into people’s homes."

Kontz hopes to fix the remaining broken pipes in the next two weeks. Both New Mexico and Arizona have sent water tankers to the Navajo and Hopi communities. Last month sub-zero temperatures caused water lines to freeze and break.

Many people on the reservations are accustomed to hauling water.

Laurel Morales was a Fronteras Desk reporter in Flagstaff from 2011 to 2020.