Photos courtesy of DigDeep®
The Navajo Nation spans over 17.5 million acres across portions of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico. The largest sovereign tribe in the United States, it is also where residents face some of the worst water challenges in the country. Native Americans overall are 19 times more likely to live without indoor plumbing than white households; in on the Navajo Nation, one in three homes do not have a tap or toilet.
Ensuring people throughout the world have access to clean water and sanitation is core to our company’s beliefs. Through our partnership with DigDeep, a U.S. human rights nonprofit working to address water issues in the United States, we’re bringing this commitment to the Navajo Nation. Through the Water Is Life microgrant program, DigDeep and Kohler are providing grassroots funding directly to individuals with immediately actionable ideas that can provide universal access to clean water and sanitation.
In March 2021, we opened applications for the first round of funding to anyone living on the Navajo Nation. In response, we received requests for support on projects that ranged from new water trucks that would help deliver clean water to elderly residents who otherwise struggle to haul clean water for themselves, to youth-led initiatives geared at educating people on safe water and delivering and installing water filters. We’re excited to continue to offer additional funding rounds annually through this program to scale community-led impact. Here are the projects being supported from the first three rounds of funding:
Installation of water stations with sinks, faucets and grey water run-off will provide clean water for drinking and handwashing to drive community hygiene goals.
Vehicle maintenance for regular water deliveries to over 100 families with elders and for those unable to haul their own water through grassroots organization, Community Strong.
Mutual aid and water hauling services to over 50 families in the Dzil Yijiin region and resources continuation like food, PPE, and sanitation necessities through its partnerships.
Support operations and maintenance costs to haul safe drinking water for family, veterans and elderly community members in and around Window Rock.
Two 500-gallon water- delivery tanks and 30 200-gallon storage tanks will support families stretching across the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation to help close the drinking-water access gap.
Water access projects through Forgotten People to collect data that can aid in understanding project scalability for the Tonalea and Hardrock, AZ Chapters.
Water-storage barrels with pumps or household rainwater catchment solutions to reduce the reliance on single-use bottled drinking water in Chichiltah, NM, supported by community education around plastic pollution and sustainable alternatives to bottled water.
Winterization of solar powered off-grid cistern system to ensure continued access to power and water with technical expertise from DigDeep.
A pilot project to install three in-home water systems for regular water deliveries for a year in Navajo-Hopi Partition Land.
A water delivery route in a high-need, water-scarce area that will bring water to 60 families of mostly elders, disabled residents, and veterans in Oak Springs and Pine Springs, Ariz., communities.
This project will fund youth leaders in a multifaceted youth-led project to develop household-specific water access solutions in Fort Defiance, Ariz. A group of teens will lead efforts to identify high-risk families, promote the importance of safe water, and distribute and train them on the use of water filters.
An installation of 1.5 water systems that include water tanks, solar-powered water pumps, and water heaters in homes in Rock Point, Ariz.
The grant will allow Ceasar to purchase a pick-up truck, trailer, water tank, and water pump to deliver water to his own family and two elders who live nearby in Monument Valley, Utah and rely on him for hauling clean water.
The grant will contribute to the purchase of a new work vehicle for CFC, an organization that delivers firewood and emergency supplies to elders across the Navajo Nation.
Over three years, the Water Is Life microgrant program will support 25–30 local entrepreneurs and community groups. With their visions and the program’s funding, we can take steps together toward making safe water a reality for all.
Learn more about DigDeep’s Navajo Water Project at navajowaterproject.org.