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Work moves forward to give a Utah community water and power

Posted at 3:46 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 18:57:05-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Work is proceeding to give a southeastern Utah community basic infrastructure.

Westwater, just outside Blanding, still has no dedicated electricity or running water. Last year, lawmakers visited the community as part of a push by Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson to fund infrastructure improvements for the community.

While many were stunned to see that in 2022, a Utah community still has no running water or power, the situation is somewhat complicated. Westwater itself is on Navajo land, though it is not a part of the reservation itself. But Lt. Gov. Henderson argued that the residents are still Utahns who need basic infrastructure.

The legislature agreed to fund roughly $3.5 million using federal stimulus dollars for a new well project in Blanding that Westwater would plug into.

"That was disappointing to me because I was hoping that we could just get the whole thing funded. This is a really complicated project and it would be great if the funding piece was easy," Lt. Gov. Henderson told FOX 13 News in an interview Wednesday. "It’s going to be a little bit more complicated. But we have some really great buy-in from the Navajo Nation, who has committed to providing some funding for the Westwater side and we’re going to work with the city of Blanding to apply for other grants and use part of the $3.5 million to supplement that side."

Lt. Gov. Henderson said an engineering study would be conducted soon to give a total cost and she isn't ruling out asking for more funding in the future. The goal, she said, would be to begin construction on infrastructure improvements in 2023.