Water Is Life

Water Is Life

Water is essential for life and has always been sacred to the people of the Navajo Nation. With much of their ancestral lands in Arizona, New Mexico, 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 lack access to running water in their homes — 90% where we work in Black Mesa.

We are delivering water barrels for water hauling and storage, distributing filters to provide safe water, installing rainwater harvesting systems for sustainability, and delivery water to those who are unable to haul their own water. Life on the reservation is hard, but living without running water is just plain wrong! Please help us reach our goal by making a compassionate gift today.
medical aid

No Running Water

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 large 55 gallon barrels, however, allow them to haul more water in fewer trips. NAER has a waiting list of families in need of water barrels to transport and store clean water.

Water barrels with people

Don't drink the local water!

Across large swaths of the reservation, Navajos do not dare to drink the 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. And much of it has a much more sinister history...abandoned uranium mines.

hut with tree

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! 

Each new water barrel costs us about $78 to purchase and distribute. These barrels have the power to bring about life-changing improvements for Native Americans who lack access to running water. Join us in making a difference by sponsoring a 55-gallon water barrel today!