No Black Mesa Pumped Storage Project (BMPSP)

Black Mesa Pumped Storage Project

The Black Mesa Pumped Storage Project (BMPSP) is a pumped storage hydro project proposed by Nature & People First. This energy development company wants to build three “Pumped Storage” energy projects along the northeastern edge of Black Mesa.

Map by the Grand Canyon Trust

What is a Pumped Storage energy project?

The purpose of the project is to generate and store electricity. The method is to generate electricity by pumping water uphill into water reservoirs when electricity prices are low and releasing it downhill into water reservoirs through electricity generators when electricity prices are high.

Our Concerns with this Project:

  1. Excessive Water Use
  2. Water source is not identified
  3. Water evaporation
  4. No Community Consultation/Consent
  5. Land & Wildlife Impacts

All 3 projects combined would require

450,000 acre-feet of water (126 trillion gallons):

  • Water Source: Black Mesa groundwater and/or the Colorado River and San Juan River.
  • 9 reservoirs on/near Black Mesa totaling 35,720 acres.
  • 8,000 acre-feet of water is required each year after project completion.

30-40 miles of Black Mesa’s north and northeastern edge would be industrialized with reservoirs, pump stations, generators, roads, water, and electric lines.

This project would destroy:

  • Aquifers and spring productivity due to reservoirs
  • Traditional land uses
  • Endangered Mexican Spotted Owl habitats
  • Land stability due to overdraft of aquifers
  • Endangered species like the Navajo Sedge & Colorado Pikeminnows

Navajo Water Facts:

  • 450,000 acre-feet (126 trillion gallons) = Over 2 million 55 Gallon Barrels
  • Wheatfields Lake has only 4,500 acre-feet of water and covers 315 acres (100x Wheatfield Lake)
  • Total industrial withdrawals from the Navajo aquifer from 1965-2018 from the Black Mesa area, 154,800 acre-feet (3x Coal Mining Water Use)

Nature & People First have already applied for preliminary permits for the three projects from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The preliminary permits, if approved, will not allow construction but will allow People & Nature First to begin surveys, studies, and other planning.

Nature & People First is asking for these federal permits before consulting with or obtaining the consent of impacted communities on and near Black Mesa. The Navajo Nation Department of Justice filed a motion with FERC opposing the project.

How can you help?

We began our Chapter Resolution Campaign in April by collecting chapter resolutions from impacted and adjacent Black Mesa region communities in the Navajo Nation. We completed our Dził Yíjiin (Black Mesa) Region Resolution Campaign by collecting resolutions from the following chapters/committees:

In May, we began our Western Agency Resolution Campaign, where we collected supporting Resolutions from various Chapters across the Western Agency of the Navajo Nation. Below are the Chapter communities supporting our Resolution.


Join us if we are presenting in your community or talk to your Chapter House and ask your officials to support our resolution to protect Navajo water. Check out the links below for the Chapter Resolution. Ahéhee’!

Join our email listing to stay up-to-date and informed on our No Black Mesa Pumped Storage Project (BMPSP) Campaign. Click Here to subscribe.

#NoBMPSP Documents


  • Application for Preliminary Permits, Nature & People First
  • Water Resource Development Strategy for the Navajo Nation, NNDWR Motion to Intervene of the Navajo Nation, NNDOJ
  • Groundwater, Surface-Water, and Water-Chemistry Data, Black Mesa Area, Northeastern Arizona—2016–2018, USGS

#NoBMPSP | #NoPumpedStorageProject | #ProtectNavajoWater | #ProtectBlackMesa | #TóBeeIiná | #WaterIsLife

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