In the Fall of 2022, Antinanco, together with its partners at K’eh Native Action, installed another set of To'h Ni'li' - Water is Flowing solar units for the households and communities on the Navajo reservation with no access to running water.
Among the latest installations are those at the Old Borrego Pass Trading Post in Borrego Pass, New Mexico, and the Sacred Mountain Sundance Community in Pinon, Arizona. “We have been delivering water to the Borrego Pass Trading Post that is transforming into the Hozho Training Center for the surrounding community and for people to learn about how to start up self-sufficient living in gardening and raising livestock, and how to survive and live off the land” – says Bitahnii Wilson of K’eh Native Action. With the help of the Water is Flowing Water solar pump, the Borrego Pass Trading Post community can now direct the water flow to where it is needed the most, without the necessity of carrying heavy water buckets to meet the drinking, washing and watering needs.
When Jo’Ann Whiting and Bitahnii Wilson of K’eh Native Action go to install the Water is Flowing solar pumps, they do not know what kind of a situation they will encounter. Some households and community centers lack properly-functioning utilities, plumbing and other infrastructure. Oftentimes, along with installing the solar pumps, Jo’Ann and Bitahnii also setup external water tanks, install utility sinks, build counters, and supply water. “It’s a blessing that we are able to provide a solution for people who will otherwise not have access to running water, as they live too far from any water lines, and meet these people’s needs” – says Jo’Ann Whiting. K’eh Native Action is an Indigenous-led grassroots organization that has been delivering water and critical relief to elders, veterans and the most vulnerable people of the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and Apache communities since the onset of the pandemic.
Recently, the Water is Flowing project was joined by Sinmuy Amungem -For the People, an all-volunteer grassroots team devoted to assisting and providing resources to the Hopi Communities, and by the Forgotten People non-profit community, an organization that delivers water, water barrels, solar water pumps and other relief to remote communities, and is dedicated to improving the well-being of the Dine’ people who live on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. Together, the organizations assist their communities by assembling and installing the Water is Flowing solar units.
“It makes us very happy to see that more and more members, including young people, from the Dine’h and Hopi communities are joining this effort, learning about solar energy, and getting involved in applying these solutions to strengthen their communities’ self-sufficiency and sovereignty. When we originally designed the first Water is Flowing unit prototype at Antinanco, our vision was to not only provide a reliable and self-contained solution that can bring running water to the households in need, but to also gradually transfer the ownership of the project to the communities themselves. We are happy that our vision is now coming to life,” says Olga Sher, Antinanco’s Managing Director.
The To'h Ni'li (which means “Water is Flowing” in Dine’h language) Project commenced in the Fall 2021. The Water is
Flowing units offer a solar-based solution that brings pressurized running water into households from an external water source, which can be integrated into household plumbing or be used as a stand-alone solution. Up to 40% of households in remote parts of the Navajo Nation have no access to clean running water at home and use externally-installed 55-500 gal drums or barrels. Some Dine’h live on 10 gallon of water a day, which is equivalent to just a few toilet flushes (most Americans use 100 gallons a day). Some lack even the most basic external water drums, relying on friends and neighbors for water delivery.
During the first 6 months, the Antinanco team designed, built and tested the first two prototype units, while K’eh Native Action installed the units and monitored their performance. The Project is now in Phase 2, with more units being installed and more on-the-ground partners receiving training and joining the project as installers and technicians. The Project goal is to provide reliable, cost-effective solution for the water insecurity in a way that allows people to continue living independently.
The Project is supported by CVE North America, the AMB Foundation, as well as by many partners and volunteers. Accomplis and Green Light Energy provided crucial support to the Project during its Phase 1 development.