CARES Act Funds Bring Electric, Water Upgrades To Navajo Nation

By Austin Fast
Published: Sunday, January 3, 2021 - 9:36am
Updated: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - 1:25pm

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Navajo Tribal Utility Authority workers install electric lines
Navajo Nation
Navajo Tribal Utility Authority workers install electric lines on the Navajo Nation. Since fall 2020, coronavirus stimulus funds have electrified 713 homes.

Hundreds of homes have been wired for electricity since the Navajo Nation authorized use of $110 million in CARES Act funding last fall. 

Workers have brought electricity to 713 homes so far through the project, exceeding the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority's initial goal of 510 homes. The project has also completed 60 bathroom additions, 101 cistern water systems, 98 septic systems and replaced pumps and motors on 62 water wells.

NTUA has also upgraded water loading stations in Bodaway/Gap, Leupp, Lupton, Wide Ruins, Torreon, and Lake Valley and constructed new water loading stations in Cameron, Fort Defiance, Greasewood Springs, Kin Dah Lichíí, Whitecone, Crownpoint, Chilchinbeto, Inscription House, and Pueblo Pintado. 

In a news release, President Jonathan Nez commended the utility workers for expediting the project to improve tribal members’ quality of life.

“NTUA has gone above and beyond through the incredible hard work from the management level to the work crews that have spent many hours away from their families over the last several months to complete projects in many communities on the Navajo Nation," Nez said. "Your work has not gone unnoticed. The work you are doing will serve and improve the quality of life for many elders, students, first responders, and families for many years to come."

Future plans include adding solar panels on 200 homes and cellular tower and broadband internet upgrades across the Navajo Nation. NTUA has partnered with other utility companies including Jemez Mountain Electric, Continental Divide, Socorro Electric, and Arizona Public Service, to expand electricity in more communities.

“We give thanks to everyone who has laid their hands to the great work being done in our communities. NTUA has used the CARES Act funds effectively to help as many of our people as possible,” said Vice President Myron Lizer. "We don’t hear much of the great work that’s being done, but we take this opportunity to thank NTUA and everyone who has worked hard to help these families and to build our great Nation."

In August, the 24th Navajo Nation Council and the Nez-Lizer Administration approved $13.8 million for power line projects, $24.7 million to increase overall electric grid capacity, $20.9 million for cisterns systems, $18.6 million for wastewater systems, and $32.8 million for wireless and broadband expansion for NTUA from the Navajo Nation’s CARES Act funds.

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