March 9, 2012--Navajo water project working to secure its path (New York Times)

Jimmy Detsoi touted a proposal that he thought would get unanimous support from people in a small Navajo community where raising livestock is synonymous with culture and tradition, the advent of the massive federal Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project. He had identified nine residents with livestock grazing permits on a patch of northwest New Mexico land that is in the path of the 280-mile, $1 billion pipeline project that will bring water closer to thousands of Navajos on the eastern side of the reservation. More than 40 percent of Navajo residences across the 27,000 square-mile reservation still do not have running water, and many have the arduous task of hauling water miles for basic uses like cooking, washing and drinking. The pipeline also will bring water relief to the city of Gallup, N.M., and parts of the Jicarilla Apache Nation. Detsoi, the grazing official in Twin Lakes, N.M., was seeking approval from the permit holders for the pipeline to cross their lands. One refused. The man told tribal officials that the destruction of vegetation and being unable to access a road would cause too many problems. The start of project construction this year is dependent on completion of various permitting, land acquisition and contract activities. Tribal officials are hesitant to use eminent domain, which allow