Client: Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources – Water Management Branch

Location: Navajo Nation

  • Nation-wide strategic water infrastructure planning
  • Implementation of a water infrastructure prioritization strategy
  • Development of a nation-wide plan to increase access to water

Project Overview: 

With an estimated 30% of the Navajo Nation population lacking access to clean and reliable potable water, the Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources (NDWR) is faced with the arduous task of improving water access across the Nation. The Navajo Nation has enlisted Riley to help develop a planning framework that will serve as the masterplan to improve water coverage across the Navajo Nation. Riley was contracted specifically to enlist the support of Dr. Ronson Chee, Ph.D., P.E., (Owner of Riley) to help develop a new water strategy based on his Ph.D. dissertation work where he developed a water infrastructure prioritization plan to help overcome water infrastructure challenges on Navajo.

The dissertation work was conducted over the course of approximately 4 years where Dr. Chee worked closely with NDWR, IHS, and NTUA, and BOR (key players in the development of water infrastructure on the Navajo Nation) to develop a plan. The work is titled Prioritization of Potable Water Infrastructure Investments on The Navajo Nation and was accepted and published in May 2017 through the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Arizona. The dissertation work is unique and specific to the Navajo Nation in that it aimed to provide a master planned approach to investing and prioritizing water infrastructure projects across the Navajo Nation with the overall goal to improve access to water.

The new water strategy document will outline the new approach that the NDWR will adopt to revamp its project planning by building upon ideas from the dissertation work. The goal of the document is to demonstrate to Navajo Nation leaders, the Navajo people, and outside governmental agencies, that NDWR is changing the way projects are planned and executed. This document will set precedent for project planning and implementation. It will be geared to attract the attention of leaders to devote more resources to NDWR and demonstrate that NDWR is the leader and innovator in water infrastructure planning on the Navajo Nation.