The blood and tears of the Navajo people in the United States! Water! Water!
Today’s Navajo reservations are mostly underdeveloped areas. From town to town, there is nothing besides rocks and wooden poles on both sides of the road. But on the road, you can often see vehicles carrying colossal water tanks.
According to data from the Navajo government, at least 40% of households on the entire reservation still have no running water. Only in a few relatively large Navajo settlements and around towns are there small reservoirs and water treatment measures. The more remote and drier the area, the more Navajo people lack running water.
Monument Valley (Monument Valley), located at the intersection of Utah and Arizona, is a world-famous natural attraction in the United States. Still, tourists may not imagine that the Navajo people living under these magnificent mountains on the Colorado Plateau live in a harsh environment, but income is also minimal. Most of them have not used tap water for a day since birth.
In such arid regions, water resources are very precious. Some Navajo people use traditional wind pumps to pump groundwater from wells to meet a tribe’s living and raising water needs. But more Navajo people living in the Monument Valley area can only get domestic water by driving to the accessible water point every day.
In the few free water refills in the Monument Valley area, in the summer of the peak water period, the entire water refilling vehicle can even line up under the road, and people in line to refill have to wait several hours or even ten hours.
The people who fetched water told reporters that they usually need to drive more than half an hour to this small settlement called Goulding and then wait in line to bring water. It takes half an hour to fill a 2,000-liter water tank with the only tap. If there is a queue, they will spend three or four hours each time they fetch water.
Although the water here seems to be free, it has already brought financial burdens to many families. Because they have to invest time and money in queuing, and this may be dozens of times more than the water bill paid by the city people every month.
Navajo Stirling Johns: Recently, an agency has installed a tap water system in our house, but it costs money to open it. I live less than 1.5 kilometers from here, and if I get water from here, it is equivalent to free.
Navajo Hard: If you want to install it yourself (the tap water system), it means hiring a private drilling company. It takes about 10,000 U.S. dollars to drill underground exploration and drilling. I don’t think people here have a lot of money, and there are not many water sources like this.
For generations, the Navajo people have been suffering from water shortages. This is not only due to the natural environment. From the lack of water conservancy facilities to colonial history, systemic racism, struggles for water rights, and decades of insufficient funding, these factors have made it difficult for the Navajo people to Get out of the predicament.
Due to the large-scale mining activities in the Navajo area decades ago, the risk of groundwater contamination is exceptionally high, and even healthy water may cause harm to people’s health.
The Indian Health Service estimates that installing drinking water and infrastructure installations for all Navajo families may cost US$700 million. The Utah Senator recently introduced a bill to provide billions of dollars in funding and legal water rights for the Navajo people in Utah to provide more than 300 households.
However, residents admitted that they had listened to the promise for too long and had no hope that similar plans could be completed soon.
A few years ago, when there was a severe drought in Monument Valley, the Goulding Water Intake Station was forced to close for a while, causing people to find water elsewhere. Many Navajo people have asked disturbing questions: If there is no running water and the water here will dry up one day, where should we go?