Water Resources Professional Project Reports

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Technical Report

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The Bennett Freeze was established in 1966 and imposed for 40 years on 1.5 million acres of land within the boundaries of the Western Agency of the Navajo Nation. Bennett Freeze came as a result of the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute. The “freeze” halted all construction, development, and improvements made to enhance the quality of life within the boundaries of the Bennett Freeze area. Public works were included in the restrictions created by the freeze, which effectively denied residents access to basic sanitation facilities. There are approximately 2,685+ homes (~20,000 residents) within the Former Bennett Freeze Area (FBFA) without access to safe drinking water or basic sanitation facilities. The purpose of this research is to assess where waterline developments and extensions in the FBFA will make the most significant impacts on the residents’ quality of life. The assessment of this research will be done using Elinor Ostrom’s Eight Design Principles for Commons Management. In this analysis the design principles will be known as Ostrom’s Eight Collective-choice Design Principles for Resource Management. The desired outcome of this research is to use institutional analysis to improve our understanding of managing a collective choice problem, and help pursue water resource solutions, and prosperity back into the FBFA.

Language (ISO)



Bennett Freeze, Western Agency, Navajo Nation, Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute, public works, development, sanitation, Elinor Ostrom’s

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