TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KFOR) – The Cherokee Nation and Indian Health Service are bringing $11.8 million in safe water infrastructure and sewage upgrades to the Cherokee Nation Reservation.

The Cherokee Nation and Indian Health Service signing agreement. Image from the Cherokee Nation.

“Our Cherokee families deserve safe drinking water and quality water treatment and sewage systems and we are still working to provide just that in all of our Cherokee communities across the reservation,” “These funds through IHS will help so many of our tribal citizens live healthier lives and prevent health problems down the road from unsafe conditions.”

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.

IHS estimates that for every $1 spent on water and sewer infrastructure will save $1.18 in avoided health care costs. The overall $11.8 million is made up of $9.37 million from Indian Health Service and $2.42 million from the Cherokee Nation.

“IHS is proud to partner with the Cherokee Nation and be a small piece of their longstanding history to assure that clean water is provided to Cherokee Nation citizens. Understanding that history goes way back long before IHS and its fight to work to make sure water is a public health cornerstone to citizens,” Rear Adm. Watts said.

The funds are being divided amongst various companies working to improve the water and homes on the Cherokee Nation Reservation.