Through the efforts of the Tribal/Federal partners, the Ganado Irrigation System, located within the Navajo Nation, is being re-established to enable farmers to resume irrigation deliveries for agricultural crops. This partnership demonstrates the successful integration of resources and expertise from multiple sources to address a local problem, thereby enabling greater self-determination within the Navajo Nation.
For an extended period, due largely to concerns over the safety of the Ganado Dam, irrigation in the area of the dam was discontinued. By 1998 the dam safety issues had been resolved with the Bureau of Reclamation's completion of an $8 million modification to the Ganado Dam funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The Navajo Nation's Department of Water Resources and Reclamation's Phoenix Area Native American Affairs Office completed a technical appraisal of the irrigation system. The appraisal identified that inadequate management and substantial water losses precluded efficient farming in this water short region of the Navajo Nation.
Many partners, including the Navajo Nation, Ganado Chapter, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Reclamation, National Park Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, signed a memorandum of understanding committing to repair the Ganado Irrigation System. Reclamation completed the necessary environmental assessment in March 2000 and collaborated with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to complete the final designs for the irrigation system, enabling a groundbreaking ceremony to launch construction in May 2002.
To date two of the three construction phases have been completed. It is anticipated that by the end of fiscal year 2004 the main stem construction will be complete enabling delivery of water to all 640 acres of the project. The Ganado Irrigation System can regain its place as the economic centerpiece within this region of the Navajo Nation.
- June 2004