S. 664 would secure up to 81,500 acre-feet of water annually for the Navajo Nation by ratifying a settlement being negotiated between the United States, the state of Utah, and the Navajo Nation. The bill would authorize the appropriation of $209 million to capitalize the Navajo Utah Settlement Trust Fund, an interest-bearing fund established under the bill. After the parties meet certain conditions, the federal government would transfer ownership of the fund (including any earned interest that is appropriated to the fund) to the nation for constructing projects to deliver water to the reservation of the Navajo Nation in Utah. The bill also would direct the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to survey water use on the reservation. Using information from BOR, CBO estimates that enacting those provisions would cost $242 million over the 2019-2023 period, assuming appropriation of the authorized and necessary amounts.
Enacting S. 664 would affect direct spending by increasing offsetting receipts because the state of Utah would be required to contribute $8 million to the trust fund; therefore pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, because the federal government would record a federal expenditure of the fund’s balance when ownership of the fund is transferred to the Navajo Nation, there would be no net effect on direct spending over the 2019-2023 period. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
CBO estimates that enacting S. 664 would not increase direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
S. 664 contains intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). CBO cannot determine whether the cost of those mandates would exceed the annual threshold established in UMRA ($80 million in 2018, adjusted annually for inflation). S. 664 contains no private-sector mandate as defined in UMRA.