- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) - The federal government has awarded a nearly $20 million construction contract to a Wyoming company to build the first pumping plant for the Navajo-Gallup pipeline project.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the contract Tuesday. It was awarded to Moltz Constructors Inc.

Jewell says the pipeline will bring drinking water to tribal and rural communities along the Arizona-New Mexico border. She says many residents in the region have been hauling water over long distances for too long.

The pipeline project stems from a settlement reached with the Navajo Nation over water rights in the San Juan Basin.

The Obama administration’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year calls for an $80 million investment in the project. Once finished, it will have the capacity to deliver clean water to about 250,000 people.