As Pandemic Magnifies Navajo Nation Water Deficit, Coronavirus Funding Questions Arise

By March 9, 2020June 25th, 2020Water News

A water tank on the Navajo Nation. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons user CEBImagery

By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue

The Navajo Nation, one of the U.S. populations hardest hit by Covid-19, will receive at least $600 million in emergency funding from the CARES Act to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s an enormous amount of money for the tribe, amounting to about half of the Navajo Nation’s $1.3 billion budget for 2020. But the country’s second-most populous tribal nation might not be authorized to use the funds for one of its greatest needs, which is clean water.

The CARES Act, which was signed by President Trump on March 27, provided $8 billion to tribal governments. Three-fifths of that amount ($4.8 billion) has been allocated so far. Because of its size, the Navajo Nation will receive a large portion of that sum.

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