A new investigation shows Arizona makes it uniquely hard for tribes to get water

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Tuesday, June 20, 2023 - 12:56pm
Updated: Wednesday, June 21, 2023 - 8:04am

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Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

Dilkon Medical Center
Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President
The Dilkon Medical Center on the Navajo Nation has been is sitting empty since 2022 because there’s not enough clean water available to open it.

For years, the Navajo Nation has been locked in contentious negotiations with the state of Arizona over water. With unreliable groundwater in much of the state, tribes often have to turn to outside sources for water. And the drawn-out negotiations to get it have left wells and water tanks for tribal communities empty, farms and businesses delayed. 

Now, a new investigation from ProPublica and High Country News shows Arizona is unique in its efforts to delay access and extract concessions from many tribes in the region in these water negotiations. 

Umar Farooq is one of the reporters on the story and The Show spoke with him more about it, beginning with the Dilkon Medical Center — a $128 million facility that is sitting empty on the Navajo Nation because there’s not enough clean water available to open it. 

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