Submitted by PDG David Simmer
Dear Friends and Supporters of the Navajo Water Project:  We wanted to give you a quick update on our work to bring clean running water to the Navajo Nation.

In early 2020 (pre-Covid) nine in-home water systems from our Rotary global grants were installed in the small community of Dilkon on the Navajo Nation. Then in early April 2020, due to the severity of the pandemic on the Reservation, tribal leaders instituted lock-downs, curfews and work-stoppages that brought our work to a halt.  

While it was sad to pause this work, we all understood the need for caution given how hard the Navajo were impacted by Covid-19. Few were aware that by May of 2020 the Navajo Nation had become the epicenter of the outbreak in the world....worse by half than New York and New Jersey on a per-capita basis.  

So we pivoted.  We worked with DigDeep and the Rotary Foundation to quickly authorize that $75,000 of our first Dilkon global grant could be allocated to emergency above-ground water tanks.  These tanks helped the Navajo have access to clean water and of course to adhere to hand-washing protocol.  The emergency water tanks help them avoid the contact that occurred routinely at regional wells where they would have otherwise needed to fill buckets, cans and barrels with enough water to survive.

In October of this year, after over 18 months of work-stoppage, tribal leaders have finally allowed DigDeep (our operational partner) to install systems TO the homes, but not INTO the homes of those without water.  DigDeep calls them suitcase installations. 

These systems provide water for the residents via a small outdoor facility with sufficient insulation to protect the pipes from freezing.  (See images attached.)  Once we get the all-clear from the tribal-leaders those systems will be finished off with indoor hot and cold running water.  But for now we are grateful to see the work begin again and to see lives transformed with clean running water available at their homes.

We are hopeful that this is just the start of a robust effort to complete more home water systems.  Obviously there are a lot of variables, but if DigDeep can install water TO homes at an average pace of 10 per month, then Rotary would have funded and DigDeep would have installed water systems TO or INTO over 170 homes in Dilkon by Spring, 2023. 

We are hopeful that the weather allows and that Covid abates so that Rotary and DigDeep can continue to bring this essential element of life to the Navajo in Dilkon. As always, we are so grateful for your support of this incredible project.  We hope to have more good news for you in the near future.

With warm regards, David Simmer On behalf of Rotary's Navajo Water Project team of D5495                        
Past District Governor, Rotary District 5495 (2019-20) Past President, Rotary Club of Sedona (2014-15)