The Navajo Nation spans over 17.5 million acres across portions of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico. The largest land area retained by an Indigenous 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 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. And through our partnership with DipDeep, a human rights nonprofit, we’re bringing this commitment to the Navajo Nation. Through the Water Is Life microgrant program, DipDeep and Kohler are providing grassroots funding directly to individuals with immediately actionable ideas to address water access issues.
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 to 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. Six projects were chosen for this first round of funding:
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. Photo DigDeep®
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. Photo DigDeep®
Learn more about DigDeep’s Navajo Water Project at navajowaterproject.org.