Navajo Council Resources & Development Committee hearing from Navajo Water Rights Commission

(L-R) Navajo Water Rights Commissioners Ray Gilmore and Bert Sandoval and Navajo Justice Department Water Rights Attorney Stanley Pollack reports to Navajo Council Resources and Development Committee at the Council chambers on July 15, 2014.  Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

(L-R) Navajo Water Rights Commissioners Ray Gilmore and Bert Sandoval and Navajo Justice Department Water Rights Attorneys Stanley Pollack and Dustin Jensen report to Navajo Council Resources and Development Committee at the Council chambers on July 15, 2014. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

Here at Navajo Council Resources & Development Committee, where the Navajo Nation Water Commission was making a report. The Committee did not have a quorum as the Water Commission started its report. But at the end of the report, the Committee had a quorum at about 11:20 am.

During the Announcement, RDC member Delegate Leonard Tsosie said that Speaker Pro Temp LoRenzo Bates had scheduled the work session of Uranium Resources Inc. on Friday, July 18, but he thinks that with all these horseback ride events that there might not be attendance that “we want” at the work session. And so Tsosie will be asking for another date for the work session.

RDC Chairperson Katherine Benally adds that the RDC is meeting with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Department of Transportation and the Navajo Nation Department of Transportation on Friday and Saturday, July 18 and 19.

The RDC is now asking questions of the Water Commission
gilmore, sandoval, pollack
A and NN DOT Friday and Saturday.

do we have any water management plan for surface and ground water. We met with Navajo Agricultural Products Industry and we are losing 3400 gallon persecond. we just let it run. and Utah, Nevada, California, down south and banking in Phoenix and Tucson. my concern, my question, why are we losing so much water? Do have any priorities for capturing that water.

According to agreement between Navajo Nation and US, we are support to use that water for 58,000 square miles of farm land/Navajo Indian Irrigation Project.

I don’t know how long the Water Commission has been around. I see proposed legislation from Water Commission. I don’t want to see Water Commission chasing around dry washes after water had gone down that wash. At end, you will not come across any water. And to put all kinds of time into it to be on Commission?!

Leaders upon leaders have been in here. I want these Water Commission projects to be prioritized. I know its fight uphill for water.

do we have any justification for priorities? i don’t want to see Water Commission shooting from the hip.

I don’t see “lessons learned.” In the last fight, the PR regarding water rights didn’t start until 6th day. How long did it take God to create the earth. And no one came out in favor of the LCR until the 6th day. Those are the lessons learned. If give serious attention, you have to come upfront at beginning even if cost you the election.

And i told you, don’t let the presiden high jack you. the LCR went downhill after the president got into it with the public in Tuba City.

“So this is your faulty, the water commission. be man enough to say we made some mistakes. and then be wise enough to say we will not make those same mistakes.”

You had former President Shelly’s Chief of Staff Roanhorse ordering tribal police at LCR hearings. I went to Fort Definace Chapter and the tribal police patted me down. and i sat with the people to hear what they have to say. the Water Commission needs to do that.

And u shud blame the Attorney General. The Council told attorney general tsosie to send letter to Sen. Kyle to take Navajo Generating Station out of LCR. Then he comes in and whins that it was only two Council delegates that told me to send letter and he wanted directive from whole council.

yes we understand citizens are concerned but you have to say that in best interest of navajo nation that a decision had to be made. i thot that by involving citizens that that is the way it would work. but it was an endless fight, berating.

as legislator trained to look at balancing but when citizen comes in with one interest and not balance and no compromise then end up in stalemate, discussion, berating.

so if go thru this again, i wud seriously recommend that u lok at selves and lessons learned.

and rather than litigating, we shud look seriously at developing water. where is water resources, water hydrology? we have never received report on all the funds allocated by council to water resources on how many windmills are working and not working, status of dams, etc. There is no plan to do water development.

we talk about aquifer being pristine but we have no development plans. so besides water litigation, we need water development plans. why not have solar plans west of Cudeii to power water pump for water up Chuska Mountains and flow down by gravity and use the water.

And the water commission needs to be re-examined? are you really doing enough? examine yourselves.

Stanley Pollack has been fighting for Navajo water rights and San Juan Water Rights litigation is an example. he has done an excellent job. I think we are in good hands.

The Water Commission is under Navajo Justice Department. The water development plans come from Navajo Division of Natural Resources Water Resources Department and so when annual budget comes before Council that is the time when we question water development plans, windmills.

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