Navajo are 67 times more likely than other Americans to live without running water or a toilet. That's an injustice.
Many Natives can't get enough clean water, creating a cycle of poverty that limits health, happiness, educational opportunity, and economic security.
We can fix that.
NAVAJO POPULATION 2010
WITHOUT TAP OR TOILET
OF CHILDREN IN POVERTY
The Navajo Nation is the size of West Virginia. It’s home to 173,000 people, and 38% of its members are “severely poor.” Child poverty rates are double the national average (Census 2010).
Darlene Arviso delivers 4000 gallons of clean water to as many families in Smith lake as she can. She works almost 14 hours a day, five days a week - and she loves her job.
Every morning, Darlene spends an hour filling the water truck at St. Bonaventure Indian Mission. Hundreds of Smith Lake families can’t get enough clean water, because Darlene’s truck is the only clean water source in a 70 mile radius.
Darlene brings so much joy with her. Children run after her truck, which is always full of extra gifts like lamp oil, batteries or soap.
Lindsey Johnson left her adoptive home in Idaho (with running water!) at 23 to care for her ailing mother on the reservation. Today, her grandchildren don’t have a shower at home. Fortunately many schools on the reservation offer “shower days” for students.
Homes like the Johnson’s often consist of children and the elderly, making water collection a major chore. Many adults leave the reservation to take jobs in cities like Albuquerque.
This man keeps his water in barrels by his outhouse. Water and sanitation always go hand in hand. About 40% of Navajo don’t have a sink or a toilet at home.
Many elders in Smith Lake live alone. They rely on Darlene’s water truck for every drop they drink. Since they cannot collect water for themselves, service disruptions due to weather or mechanical failure can pose a big danger.
An entire family’s water supply for a month is stored in these buckets outside their Hogan (a traditional Navajo home). Not exactly the most efficient, secure way to keep clean water, but it’s the only option for most.
When the water truck arrives, every bucket, cup and bowl is placed outside to hold clean water.
A woman imagines her future home. Right now Darlene delivers water to a small shack she constructed out of found supplies. St. Bonaventure is helping her build a new Hogan, and the Navajo Water Project will build a small tower full of clean, safe water to run her sink and toilet.