It may seem farfetched, but the reality is that many Americans don’t have regular access to clean drinking water.
The election of President Donald Trump has flung the nation’s environmental protection agency into uncharted territory. Among promises to severely cut funding and the appointment of a former lawyer with a history of fighting the organization to lead it, the U.S. EPA appears to be in jeopardy. Few communities are poised to struggle without environmental help like the nation’s Native American population.
“Native American communities are particularly worried about EPA funding because, unlike states, they aren’t generating income, and many of them can’t tax their residents for public works projects,” reported PBS. “They rely heavily upon EPA grants to maintain water quality standards, create ordinances, manage solid waste, and assess environmental threats.”
One such community can be found in the Navajos living in Smith Lake, NM, who struggle to access drinking water.
“Navajo are 67 times more likely than other Americans to live without running water or a toilet,” according to the Navajo Water Project. “Many Natives can’t get enough clean water, creating a cycle of poverty that limits health, happiness, educational opportunity, and economic security.”
To supplement the lack of public works projects and ensure these basic services are provided to Native Americans, the Navajo Water Project has developed a new well, water truck and home water systems for Smith Lake. A fundamental part of this project is empowering the community to take charge of their own drinking water access.
“Community members and local leaders advise the project through quarterly meetings,” the organization’s website reads. “Homeowners contribute to their systems and are trained to maintain them.”
To fund this initiative, the Navajo Water Project sells gifts that were hand-crafted by Navajo artists, giving others around the world the chance to support their access to clean water. Donors can also purchase entire water and solar power systems or their individual components through the project.
The philanthropic opportunity gives us all a chance to help a community in need of the things many of us take for granted every day.