GUEST COLUMN

Water not enough for future generations

By Peter MacDonald Sr.

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L et's do the math.

1. The 31,000 acre-feet of water the Navajo are suppose to get if we agree to the settlement equals more than 10.1 billion gallons of water per year (1 acre-foot equals about 325,851 gallons).

2. 10.1 billion gallons per year divided by 300,000, the present Navajo population, equals nearly 34,000 gallons per year per person.

3. 34,000 gallons per year per person divided by 365 days equal 93 gallons per person per day.

The 93 gallons per person per day is less than two 50-gallon barrels of water per person per day for all our water needs, including water for livestock and farming. There would be nothing left for one wanting a swimming pool or garden. All of us should take the time to read every sentence in S2109, the so-called Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act, and the other references included in the proposed legislation and settlement documents you will be shock. Of course, the main document alone contains 400 pages, so those who want to steal our water are betting we won't bother to read it.

More importantly, the settlement does not provide for future generations and growth because what we get in the settlement is all we get for at least the next 100 years. By then there will be solid precedent to continue to take our water.

It means when the Navajo population goes over 1 million we must divide 31,000 acre-feet by one million, which is about 10,100 gallons per person per year or 27.6 gallons of water per person per day – simply stated, that's dehydration. It is genocide.

Our children cannot live on this amount of water. Navajo Nation's population will triple in 100 years.

We will be leaving our people less than a 50-gallon barrel of water per day for all their water needs – forever.


It is an atrocity; why would we bestow upon our future generations a future without water?

Let's help our children and take hold of the future by voting against this proposed settlement, a water giveaway.

Water is life. Water is economic survival: Gold to Bilagáana.

The waters within the Four Sacred Mountains are ours, and have been time immemorial.

Some more math:

1. 12 million acre-feet equal nearly 4 trillion gallons of water, the amount of water going off the Navajo Nation every year.

2. 4 trillion gallons, divided into 50-gallon barrels, equals 80 billion barrels of our water going down to Phoenix, California, Las Vegas, and other places each year or 220 million barrels per day.

3. Under the settlement act, we are allocated just two barrels per day for all of our needs, while the others take 220 million barrels of our water.

Stan Pollock, a so-called water rights attorney, and the Navajo Water Rights Commission want to give away 220 million barrels of water per day to Arizona and Bilagáana – water that belongs to our children and their children's children – in return for only two barrels per day.

If we made the generous offer to them of just $2.50 per barrel, or five cents per gallon, we would earn $550 million per day or $200 billion dollars per year. With that money, we can develop our own water system.

But what are we getting for giving away 220 million barrels per day of our water?

We are asked to waive every right, sovereignty and claim that we may have against energy companies, the states, the federal government and individuals that have or may have done us wrong in the past, and even into the future. The settlement also prohibits us from selling or leasing our water.

Why must we tie ourselves to state laws? Navajo is a sovereign nation. The most ridiculous requirement in the settlement is that we are being asked to waive our sovereign rights, while not putting any additional land under irrigation and allowing states to regulate how, for which purposes, how much and where we can use our water.

We need leaders who are not afraid, who are willing to fight for what rightfully belongs to us. Yes, we need warriors, like the council that just voted down the settlement.

Ahehee, Ni hi't'oh bi cha'aa ndaa baahi'ghi' (Thanks to all those who are fighting to keep our water).

Lastly, members of the Navajo Nation, we must never be tempted by water-settlement schemes on the prospect that more homes will receive water. We can get water without any settlement, just as we have been doing for the past century. Besides, the federal government, as trustee, has a legally binding obligation under the Treaty of 1868 to help us attain good education, health, and development of an economic base to become self-sufficient.

It's our water! We will fight for it!

Tell your council delegate to remain strong and continue to vote against the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado Water Rights Agreement. It's another crooked scheme to legalize the thief of our water.

Remember, the settlement is locking us in to just two barrels of water per day, while they keep 220 million barrels per day, without an apology for their crimes. We will be giving up our rights, and our children's rights, to damages for harm that they did to us.