History

Purpose

In 1962, PL 87-483 “authorized the Secretary of the Interior to construct, operate, and maintain the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project as participating projects of the Colorado River Storage Project and for other purposes.”

On April 16, 1970, the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (NAPI) was developed by the Navajo Nation Council as an enterprise to operate Navajo Indian Irrigation Project (NIIP). The Navajo Nation Council not only created this enterprise to assist NIIP, but to create economic opportunities for the Navajo people and to build a foundation of commitment, pride, and dedication to their nation.

From past to present, the Navajo people have maintained their existence and built upon creating NAPI to operate and benefit the people and the business.

Navajo Indian Irrigation Project

Legislation PL 87-483  |  Authorized June 13, 1962

The Navajo Tribe traded their water rights for the construction of the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project. The objective of NIIP is to irrigate 110,630 acres farmland. Navajo Lake is the storage reservoir for approximately 508,000 acre-feet of annual allocated water to irrigate the NAPI farm at full build-out of Blocks 1 through 11.

NIIP’s development is broken into 11 Blocks, with approximately 10,000 acres in each block. Block 1 was first irrigated in 1976, Block 8 started irrigating in 2002. Currently, 8 Blocks have been completed & Block 9 has approximately 1000 irrigated acres. The project completion is dependent upon moratorium.

NIIP Construction:

  • 508,000 Acre-ft Allowable diversion
  • 90 Miles of Concrete Lined Canal 1800 cfs max
  • 13 Miles of Tunnels 10.5 ft to 18 ft Dia.
  • 7 Miles of Siphons 7 ft to 17.5 ft Dia.
  • 340 Miles of Laterals 0.5 ft to 7 ft Dia.
  • 84 Pumping Plants 0.5 cfs to 615 cfs

The diversion of over 109,000 acre feet of water annually from the San Juan Basin into the Rio Grande Basin has provided additional municipal and industrial water to cities on the Rio Grande, from Los Alamos to El Paso. This diverted water is the water right that the Navajo Nation traded for construction of the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project.

On April 16, 1970, the Navajo Tribe created an enterprise with the day-to-day responsibility to operate the farm. That enterprise is the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, NAPI.

Timeline

  • Public Law 84-485: “To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to construct, operate, and maintain the Colorado River Storage Project and participating projects, and for other purposes.” – 84TH Congress, April 11, 1956

In December 1957, the Navajo Tribe agreed to a bargain with the State, an initial stage San Juan – Chama Diversion Project of 110,000 Acre-Feet in exchange for 508,000 Acre-Feet & 110,630 Acres of irrigable lands known as NIIP. The Tribal Council approved the draft NIIP Act language – Resolution CD-86-57

On June 13, 1962, the NIIP Authorizing Legislation (P.L. 87-483) was signed by President John F. Kennedy. Memorandum of Agreement between Bureau of Indian Affairs, BIA and BOR. The responsibilities were established for funding, planning, design, construciton, and operation and maitenance of NIIP.

  • Public Law 87-483: “To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to construct, operate, and maintain the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project and the initial stage of the San Juan-Chama Diversion Project as participating projects of the Colorado River Storage Project, and for other purposes.” – 87TH Congress, June 13, 1962

On April 16, 1970, the Navajo Tribal Council created Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, NAPI.

  • Resolution ACAP-123-70: “The Advisory committee of the Navajo Tribal Council hereby approves the plan of operation for the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry.” – ADVISORY COMMITTEE NAVAJO TRIBAL COUNCIL, April 16, 1970

In 1985, NAPI entered into P.L. 93-638 contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for NIIP Operation and Maintenance (O&M). The O&M responsibility was shifted from the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to NAPI.

  • Resolution ACJY-124-85: “The Advisory Committee of the Navajo Tribal Council hereby authorizes the Bureau of Indian Affairs to contract with NAPI under terms of Public Law 93-638 for Operation and Maintenance of the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project for Fiscal Years 1986, 1987 and 1988.” – ADVISORY COMMITTEE NAVAJO TRIBAL COUNCIL, July 10, 1985
  • Resolution ACJN-125-87: “The Advisory Committee of the Navajo Tribal Council hereby authorizes the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry to contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs under terms of Public Law 93-638, to continue On-Farm Development of the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project for Fiscal Years 1988, 1989 and 1990.” – ADVISORY COMMITTEE NAVAJO TRIBAL COUNCIL, June 9, 1987