Navajo Nation Drinking Water Supply


Between 30 and 40% of residents do not have household access to public drinking water supplies (Leeper, 2003). Even with proposed water supply projects it is estimated that 10 to 20% of area residents will lack household access to public water supply by 2040. According to the NN Department of Water Resources, Navajo without municipal water access haul 5.4 gallons per person per day and travel an average of 28 miles round trip on rough, dirt roads (BOR, 2007).
Caption: A NN water hauling station.

Water Consumption

Per capita water consumption for Navajo Nation residents ranges between 10 and 100 gallons per day and is associated with household piped water access. For residents that lack household public water access, per capital water consumption is between 10 and 20 gallons per day. On the nearby Hopi Reservation, per capita water consumption ranges between 10 and 35 gallons per day (BOR, 2007). According to Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, customers with household municipal water access use on average 100 gallons per person per day.

NN residents use approximately 12,000 acre-feet (one acre-foot is 365,284 gallons) of drinking water per year (as of 2011). By 2040, total domestic and municipal water use is expected to exceed 89,000 acre-feet per year and per capita water consumption will increase to 160 gallons per day. Increasing water demand coupled with a growing population necessitates securing a clean and reliable water supply (NN DWR, 2011).


Water Providers

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) is the largest water provider on the NN and it operates 94 water systems, two water treatment plants and 229 groundwater wells throughout the NN. In total NTUA has more than 35,000 residential water connections and supplies drinking water to more than 130,000 people on the Navajo Nation.

Water Provider Systems
Tribal Government 9
Bureau of Indian Affairs 33
Chapters and Utilities 8
Businesses and Trading Posts 13
Schools 18
Other Systems 6


According to the NN Environmental Protection Agency (2011), there were 181 public water systems on the NN and more than 40,000 water connections.



Learn more about the importance of groundwater for drinking water supply on the Navajo Nation.