World Water Day: Join the Fight for Clean Water
Did you know more than 2.2 billion people around the world live without access to clean water? While most urban homes across America have running water, the same cannot be said for many homes on remote reservations throughout Indian Country. Today is World Water Day – it celebrates the reality that water is life and raises awareness of those still living without local water access.
The Navajo Nation is home to about 175,000 people and its reservation communities span Arizona, New Mexico and Southern Utah. On Navajo lands, 42% of homes lack complete plumbing facilities and these residents travel an average of 48 miles to access clean water. In addition to drinking water, they need the water it takes to wash their hands, clean their dishes, do their laundry and cook their meals.
Through the Navajo Relief Fund (NRF), a PWNA program, we work with Tribal partners to improve quality of life in their communities. Increasing regular access to bottled water is one way of doing this. Even pre-pandemic, water is always one of the top needs requested by our Navajo partners and other Native communities. Water is essential to personal and community health.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Tribal leaders implemented community-wide curfews to reduce the spread of the virus. While this mandate helped protect communities, it also posed a new challenge for those without running water – the complexity of following CDC guidelines for frequent handwashing. As a result, emergency requests for water were constant over the past year and PWNA included water in nearly every delivery to 25 reservations, including Navajo.
Our water deliveries address a critical need, but they also offer hope and relief to families that are doing all they can to remain safe. PWNA and its programs are working to improve water equity for access to clean water and resiliency in the face of emergencies. With the continued support of our donors – and continued partnerships with Native community leaders – we’re confident we can continue to bring positive change for future generations.