Navajo President Begaye Signs Drought Declaration, State of Emergency

Navajo President Russell Begaye signed a Drought State of Emergency Declaration to address and prepare for drought conditions on the Navajo Nation.

Published March 3, 2018

WINDOW ROCK – On Friday, President Russell Begaye signed the Navajo Nation Commission on Emergency Management’s (CEM) Drought State of Emergency Declaration.

“The Navajo Nation is declaring a state of drought emergency. We are a nation of farmers and ranchers and we are heavily dependent on water to provide for us,” President Begaye said. “We want to be sure that we are prepared when our water supplies start to diminish at our wells, windmills and earthen dams. We know the drought will present challenges.”

The declaration will assist in mobilizing all Navajo Nation programs and offices to work together at all levels as the Nation moves into the spring and summer months. President Begaye said the declaration helps the Nation collaborate with county, state and federal agencies for assistance in addressing emergency and disaster related situations.

The declaration states that significant reduction in precipitation gauged by a six-month Standardized Precipitation Index place northeastern Arizona in an emergency stage of drought. Large-scale drought trends are predicted throughout the Four Corners region from mid-February to the end of May.

These drought conditions will impact water and feed supplies for livestock in the area, which will impact Navajo land conditions through overgrazing and lack of vegetation.

The Navajo Nation CEM finds it necessary for appropriate Navajo entities to maintain coordination and collaboration with relevant agencies to meet the needs of the public.

“It’s important that we implement this state of emergency to be prepared for the impacts of drought,” President Begaye said. “Much of our lands are in severe to extreme drought conditions already. This declaration will help us protect our natural resources while we address any shortage of water that might exist.”

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This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.