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Committee on Indian AffairsIntroducedMarch 15th, 2017
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Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act of 2017
A bill to approve the settlement of the water rights claims of the Navajo in Utah, to authorize construction of projects in connection therewith, and for other purposes.
Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act of 2016 This bill ratifies and modifies the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Agreement negotiated between the Navajo Nation, the United States, and Utah. Specifically, the bill enumerates the Navajo Nation's right to use water from sources located within Utah and adjacent to or encompassed within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation Reservation. The use is limited to depletions of 81,500 acre-feet or less per year. The water rights: (1) include the rights to divert, pump, impound, store, or reuse water; and (2) are not subject to loss by non-use, forfeiture, or abandonment. In return for confirmation of these rights, the Navajo Nation waives and releases: (1) claims for water rights that are not recognized in the agreement; and (2) claims for specified damage, loss, or injury to water, water rights, land, or other resources. The Bureau of Reclamation must: (1) plan, design, and construct the water diversion, delivery, and conservation features of the Navajo water development projects; and (2) convey to the Navajo Nation title to certain water development projects described as water supply and water distribution systems once they are complete and in operation. The Department of the Interior must facilitate the formation of a project management committee. The bill establishes: (1) a trust account for the operation, maintenance, and replacement of the Navajo water development projects authorized to be constructed and described in the agreement as water supply systems and water distribution systems; and (2) a fund to plan, design, and construct the projects.