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Welcome to the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency's Public Water Systems Supervision Program!

The Public Water Systems Supervision Program (PWSSP) is under the Surface and Ground Water Protection Department (SGWPD) of the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency.  The Navajo Nation EPA is an entity of the Executive Branch of the Navajo Nation Government.  The Surface and Groundwater Protection Department is responsible for protecting the water of the Navajo Nation.

The Public Water Systems Supervision Program is now being represented as a Primacy Program, based on U.S EPA-Region 9's approval of the Primary Enforcement Authority over most of the public water systems on the Navajo Nation. 

Where Does Our Water Come From?

Our drinking water comes from two major sources:  surface water and groundwater. Surface water includes lakes, rivers, streams, and reservoirs.  Groundwater includes underground aquifers.  One of our most valuable resources, aquifers are water-bearing rock formations you cannot see and may not even know are there!  Aquifers are formed when the air spaces in rocks below are filled with water.  Aquifers are the source of water for wells and springs.  Wells can be drilled into the aquifers and water can be pumped out to provide drinking water.

Rain and snow melt eventually add water (recharge) into the porous rock of the aquifer.  The rate of recharge is not the same for all aquifers though, and that must be considered when pumping water from the well.  Pumping too much water too fast draws down the water in the aquifer and eventually causes a well to yield less and less water to run dry.  In fact, pumping a well too fast can even cause another nearby well to run dry if both are pumping from the same aquifer.

Water Is A Precious Resource

Most people take water for granted.  Many people assume that the water will always come out of the kitchen tap and that the water will always be wholesome.  It is the job of the water system operators to get the water from the source to the consumer's tap.  This may involve pumping water out of the ground or diverting a stream, then removing harmful contaminants, and pumping the water through miles and miles of pipes.  Water in the ground may be free, but getting the water from the source to the people's homes and making sure that it is safe costs money.  An important part of the operator's job is to help people understand why piping water to their homes is not free.

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