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Grant Program To Increase Water Access On Navajo Nation Announces First Recipients

Dig Deep

A new microgrant program designed to fund increased water access on the Navajo Nation has announced its first group of recipients. A half-dozen grassroots projects will receive support on the reservation where one in three people lack indoor plumbing. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The Water Is Life Fund will allocate up to $20,000 each to more than two dozen local projects to expand access to clean water and sanitation. They were developed by community members and many have already been implemented.

The first round of recipients includes an effort to install water systems in homes on Navajo-Hopi partition land where residents were barred by the federal government from making any home improvements for decades. Another will establish a water delivery route for elders, disabled tribal members and veterans.

The fund was created by the nonprofit Dig Deep through its Navajo Water Project along with the Kohler plumbing company. According to Dig Deep, Native Americans are 19 times more likely to live without indoor plumbing compared to white U.S. households.

The second round of applications for the Water Is Life Fund closes Sept. 30.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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