Over 30% of residents of the Navajo Nation don’t have running water in their homes, making them more susceptible to the rapid spread of COVID-19.
THOREAU, N.M. (PRWEB) April 29, 2020
Over 30% of residents of the Navajo Nation don’t have running water in their homes, making them more susceptible to the rapid spread of COVID-19. The Navajo Nation -- which spans the corners of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah -- now has the third-highest infection rate in the country, trailing only New York and New Jersey.
DigDeep, a human rights nonprofit that installs clean, running water inside these homes through its Indigenous-led Navajo Water Project, has partnered with Nestlé Waters to distribute a donation of 248,000 gallons (939,000 liters, totaling over 2 million pounds) of ArrowheadⓇ Brand 100% Mountain Spring Water to these residents in a coordinated, emergency response.
This emergency water supply is being distributed through a network of volunteers from nonprofits, mutual aid groups, health clinics and Navajo government agencies. They are driving the ‘last mile’ to elders, people infected and under quarantine, and others without personal transportation. There is also an option for no-contact pickup by car. The first Nestlé Waters donation of 124,000 gallons, distributed the week of April 20th, provided clean drinking water to an estimated 30,000 people. A second donation of an additional 124,000 gallons is underway.
“We know that the best way to prevent the spread of this virus is by washing our hands and sheltering in place. These are some of the hardest things to do on the Navajo Nation right now. If you do not have running water in your home, you have to leave to buy bottled water and travel to different grocery stores where you may be exposed. A lot of times when residents arrive, there isn’t any water left,” says Emma Robbins, Diné (Navajo) activist and Director of DigDeep’s Navajo Water Project. “Because Nestlé Waters responded so quickly and generously, our partners and staff have been able to safely distribute thousands of gallons of water to people who need it most.”
Historic inequities have compounded the spread of COVID-19 across the Navajo Nation, including a lack of basic infrastructure and adequate healthcare facilities. There are only 46 ICU beds for a population of approximately 173,000. With only thirteen grocery stores on the reservation, many must travel for 30+ miles to buy bottled water, only to find store shelves empty. Those who cannot afford to travel that distance have to fill up containers at public spigots, or even from surface water or livestock windmills.
“Having enough water not only to help your family stay hydrated, but also to wash your hands, is something most Americans take for granted. This is particularly critical during a national health emergency,” said Tara Carraro, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Nestlé Waters North America. “Nestlé Waters has a long history of donating bottled water to those impacted by emergencies and disasters. When DigDeep reached out to explain the need within the Navajo Nation, we were honored to provide the first of two emergency deliveries of ArrowheadⓇ Brand 100% Mountain Spring Water, our regional spring water in the west.”
As a frontline service provider through the Navajo Water Project, DigDeep had already installed running water in nearly 300 homes prior to the pandemic. The organization is now focused on continuing uninterrupted water deliveries to those families, and expanding delivery of clean water to homes in areas not yet served.
While DigDeep’s Navajo Water Project generally focuses on long-term sustainable solutions, with the added support of Nestlé Waters and a grassroots network of Indigenous partners, DigDeep has been able to quickly ramp-up humanitarian response to communities hardest impacted by this public health crisis.
ABOUT DIGDEEP: DigDeep is a human rights nonprofit working to ensure that every American has access to clean, running water. DigDeep is the winner of the 2018 US Water Prize for its Navajo Water Project, which has installed water systems inside the homes of hundreds of indigenous families across New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. Since COVID-19 emerged in March, over 1800 donors have come together in support of the Navajo Water Project, funding installs for 32 more families (and counting). For more information, please visit digdeep.org or navajowaterproject.org, and follow on Twitter (@DigDeepH2O), Facebook and Instagram (@DigDeepWater).
Press Contact for DigDeep:
ABOUT NESTLÉ WATERS: Nestlé Waters North America offers an unrivaled portfolio of bottled water brands for healthy hydration, including Arrowhead® Brand 100% Mountain Spring Water, Nestlé® Pure Life® , Perrier® and S. Pellegrino®. Arrowhead® Brand 100% Mountain Spring Water, its regional spring water in the west, was named for a mountain with a natural mark of an arrowhead, located near the first source of the brand’s spring water. The company also owns and operates ReadyRefreshSM by Nestlé® , a customizable water and beverage delivery service. Just Click and QuenchSM.
Based in Stamford, Connecticut with approximately 7,000 associates in the United States, Nestlé Waters manages natural resources for long-term sustainability, and conserves more than 18,000 acres of natural watershed area. It currently sources water for its six regional spring water brands from 38 active springs throughout the United States. The company is also committed to creating shared value and being a good neighbor in the 140 communities where it operates in the U.S. For more information, visit https://www.nestle-watersna.com/en and follow on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @NestleWatersNA.
Press Contact for Nestlé Waters: