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Addressing drinking water inequities for 250+ Navajo families with solar-powered home water systems

Navajo Nation, NM, USA
The Atlas Community Team

Government Champion

Navajo Nation

Cost

Zero upfront cost to local government

Project Status

Operational since 2018

At a Glance

The Navajo Water Project has helped over 250+ families gain access to hot and cold running water in their homes. Capitalizing on community collaboration, home water system installment employs community members while providing 1200 gallons of drinking water and solar power to its users.

Problem Addressed

Spread across New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona Navajo nation is home to 173,000 Navajos. Unfortunately, 1 in 3 Navajo do not have a sink or toilet, making them 67 times more likely than other Americans to live without running water or a toilet.

When the Navajo and other tribes signed treaties with the federal government they expected to receive housing, infrastructure and healthcare in exchange for land; however, it's been over 150 years and the government has yet to deliver on their promise. This has left one third of Navajo families hauling water home everyday, which they pay 67x more for than they do for piped water.

Navajo Nation used/is using the Navajo Water Project to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

The Navajo Water project, a community-managed utility alternative, provides hot and cold running water to homes without access to water or sewer lines. The project began with a single family in New Mexico, but now serves 250 families in just New Mexico alone, while expanding to Utah and Arizona.

The team brings water via their off-grid Home Water Systems, in a process guided by a council of clients and local leaders. They first develop new wells where water is pumped, treated and stored locally. Via their Dig Deep trucks, they deliver water to hundreds of families living close to each source. The home water systems provide 1200 gallons of hot and cold running water powered by solar power.

Not only does the project provide the community with water, but it is also indigenous-led and creates meaningful, high-paying jobs with benefits for the Navajo. The project has additionally invested in more effective septic systems, skilled job creation, and works with the Water is Life Fund to provide grants.

Outcomes

  1. 250 families across 9 towns in New Mexico now have access to water that they did not have before
  2. Employment of many Navajo with high-paying jobs that include 100% employer-paid health coverage
  3. Home systems that each provide 1200 gallons of hot and cold running water using solar power
  4. Investment in better septic systems, skilled job creation, and grant creation for communities working to solve their own water inefficiencies

Something Unique

The Navajo Water Project has been able to expand its reach to help other individuals and communities dealing with water inequities via the Water is Life Fund.

Who Should Consider?

Communities looking to sustainably increase citizen access to water while providing new jobs.

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