AP: Navajo Nation President Reopens Irrigation Canal After Gold King Mine Spill

Posted on Aug 29, 2015

NENAHNEZAD, New Mexico — Farmers in the northeast part of the Navajo Nation will soon be cleared to resume using the San Juan River for irrigation after it was contaminated by the Gold King Mine spill.

The Farmington Daily Times reports (http://bit.ly/1NDIjR7 ) that Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye announced Thursday at a meeting with chapter officials that the Fruitland Irrigation canal, which delivers water to the Nenahnezad, San Juan and Upper Fruitland chapters will be opened. The chapters have been without water since the Colorado gold mine sent toxic sludge into the waterway on Aug. 5.

Begaye says the entire canal will be flushed before irrigation can start.

Shiprock Irrigation Supervisor Marlin Saggboy says flushing will begin as soon as he receives a written directive from the president. The canal could be full and ready as early as Sunday.