Committee Advances Romney Bill to Settle Water Rights for Navajo Nation

Romney renews call for Senate to pass water rights legislation

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) applauded today’s vote by the House Natural Resources Committee to advance legislation led by Congressmen Rob Bishop (R-UT) and John Curtis (R-UT) that would settle a decades-long negotiation among the Navajo Nation, federal government and the State of Utah over water rights for Utah Navajos. The Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act, companion Senate legislation which Romney introduced, currently awaits a vote by the full Senate. Senators Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) are cosponsors of the bill. Romney met with Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez yesterday to provide an update on the status of the legislation.

“I applaud the committee for advancing our legislation to provide water to both the Navajo Nation and the people of Utah in a way that is good for everyone,” Senator Romney said. “There is no reason to wait any longer to resolve this longstanding issue. Let’s bring this important legislation up for a vote in the Senate without delay.”

The Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act of 2019 would:

  • Settle all current and future claims by the Navajo Nation for water rights within Utah, thus precluding costly future litigation for all parties;
  • Provide the Navajo Nation with the right to deplete 81,500 acre-feet of water per year from Utah’s Colorado River Basin apportionment;
  • Authorize $210 million in funding for water infrastructure on Utah portion of Navajo Nation to access the water, which will help provide clean drinking water; and
  • Require the State of Utah to contribute $8 million in funding towards the settlement, which has been approved.