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[All Government Water Use and Related Fees]

The term “Government Water Use” covers various types of use of the Nation’s waters. These include the following:

Government use of Navajo Water for government construction projects. If there is a federal, Nation, county, state, or local (e.g., chapter) government construction project, and the work is being done by a contractor, the construction water use fee is the same as for a private entity ($4.00/1,000 gallons) and the contractor is the charged party. If, however, it is a government project and government employees are doing the work with government owned or leased equipment, there is a 50% waiver, or a fee of only $2.00 per thousand gallons used, as opposed to the normal $4.00 per thousand gallons.

Government use of NTUA water. NTUA owns no water. The Navajo Nation owns the water NTUA delivers. The fees charged by NTUA (usually around $5.50 to $6.00 per 1,000 gallons) are not for the water itself but for the costs to cover the complex services NTUA provides in pumping, treating, piping, and delivering the Navajo Nation’s water through NTUA’s public water system infrastructure.

All use of public water delivered through NTUA systems for operation of government installations such as BIA offices, BIA and BIE schools, state schools, state government offices, community schools, and school districts receives a 50% waiver off the normal Water Code fee rate of $0.27 (27¢) per thousand gallons, leaving a fee of $0.135 (13.5¢) per thousand gallons for the actual substance of the water itself.

BIA, BIE, State, and other government agency installations with their own wells. Agencies with their own wells drilled into Navajo Nation aquifers are subject to the same fees discussed above for construction water use and for operational use for the school, administrative site, chapter site, and so on. It is unlawful for these entities to approve construction water use of their sources unless an appropriate permit has been obtained from the Navajo Nation Water code Administration.

The existence of a non-Navajo Nation installation or compound (i.e., one that is not an installation of the central Navajo Nation government) on Navajo land—through a lease, an administrative withdrawal, or by other means—does not grant away from the Navajo Nation at large, and to the agency with the installation or compound, ownership of that land or the water on or underneath it. Therefore the Navajo Nation TCOB Water Code applies, as do the fees associated with it.

To repeat, Federal, state, Nation, county, or local (e.g., chapter) agency administrative sites established by land use permit, lease, or other means on Nation lands are not thereby creating agency-owners of waters of the Nation that cross or that underlay those sites. The Navajo Nation at large is the owner of the water, and use of Nation water is regulated under the Water Code (Title 22 N.N.C. §§ 1101 through 1104).

In closing:

All rights to the use of the waters of the Navajo Nation are held subject to the overriding, prior and supreme rights, interests and governmental authority of the Navajo Nation, and the policy and provisions contained in this Code, amendments hereto, and administrative regulations and determinations hereunder. [22 N.N.C. § 1103 (b)]