Water Equity Clearinghouse

Navajo Water Project

Thoreau, NM

The Navajo Water Project is a program of the DIGDEEP Right to Water Project, a nonprofit that plans locally-led water projects that bring clean, running water to American communities in need. The Navajo Water Project seeks to further this mission through the installation of cistern-based Home Water Systems, served by water truck from a series of wells developed and managed by DIGDEEP. The system is owned and managed by the community it serves, and will ultimately bring hot and cold running water to more than 200 homes in its first phase. DIGDEEP relies on robust mechanisms of community leadership and organizing to plan and monitor the project.

The Navajo Water Project partners with local nonprofit St. Bonaventure Indian Mission, the charity responsible for funding and maintaining water delivery after the project is completed.

Efforts to Advance Water Equity

Navajo people are 67 times more likely than other Americans to live without running water or a toilet. Lack of access to such basic amenities creates a cycle of poverty, in which 44 percent of Navajo children live. The Navajo Water Project recognizes that water poverty limits opportunities for health, happiness, education, and financial security.

In an effort to break this cycle, the Navajo Water Project brings clean, hot and cold water to homes on the Navajo nation, while improving infrastructure that provides clean water to institutions like schools and community centers. As part of the Navajo Water Project, DIGDEEP recently launched a $100,000 initiative to build a water filtration system for Saint Michael's Association for Special Education (SMASE), a special needs school on the Navajo Nation. At SMASE, more than 120 students and staff rely on discolored, odorous water contaminated with lead, copper, decaying organic matter, and other minerals in abnormally high levels. DIGDEEP will replace school plumbing and build a filtration system to ensure that all SMASE buildings have adequate access to clean water.

All project costs, including materials, can be sponsored by donors on their website and are installed by local outreach teams in partnership with clients and their communities. Clients are also given spare parts and trained on how to troubleshoot and repair systems so that these water projects can be self-sustaining.