Water is essential for life and has always been sacred to the people of the Navajo Nation. With much of their ancestral lands in new Mexico, Arizona and Utah historically receiving less than 10 inches of rain every year, they know every drop of water counts.. But today, clean water is an even rarer commodity for the Navajo. Many of the wells that their families have relied on for generations have been contaminated by arsenic or uranium. Even when a well is safe, 30% of Navajos living on the reservation still lack access to running water in their homes which is especially dangerous during a time when hand-washing is so critical. There is an overwhelming poverty and Third world conditions that too many Navajo endure.
There is the urgent need to look for ways to help deliver water to families who don't have the capacity to haul their own water. We want to add 100 new 55-gallon water barrels to our list of deliveries.
No water nearby
Agnes lives with her grandchildren in a traditional hogan (home). The family must drive long distances to buy the water it needs – and the fuel alone is more than the average household can afford. Our big barrels, however, allow them to haul more water in fewer trips. But more families will need water barrels to transport and store clean water.
Don't drink the local water!
Many of the reservation dare to drink the local water. And unlike the outcry over lead in the water in places like Flint, Michigan, their water problem has barely made the news. Some of the contamination found in Navajo wells has occurred naturally, because groundwater can pick up arsenic present in the region's volcanic rocks and soil.
The atomic nightmare
Other water contamination have a very human cause. They are the deadly legacy of hundreds of abandoned uranium mines on the reservation – mines that supplied ore for atomic weapons between 1944 and 1986. Decades after the last mines closed, people are still dying from kidney failure and lung cancer linked to the uranium poisoning. A long-term study has revealed rising levels of uranium in the bodies of babies during their first year!