The Navajo Nation is a Native American tribe with a reservation covering about 17,544,500 acres in northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico in the United States. This is the largest land area retained by an indigenous tribe in the United States with an estimated population of 200,000 people. Today, the Navajo Nation is striving to sustain a viable economy for an increasing population, but clean water simply isn’t available for a large portion – 30% to 40% of reservation households don’t have running water.
Wood has provided water and wastewater advisory and delivery for the Navajo Nation for more than 15 years, with several projects currently in transit. The lack of clean water infrastructure has had a direct impact to this region during the COVID-19 pandemic with a disproportionate amount of deaths, directly connected to the lack of clean water for hygienic hand washing, as well as the need for many Navajos having to travel outside their community to access clean water. In addition, the lack of healthcare infrastructure within the Nation also contributed to this impact. Work in 2020 included installing a fresh water supply well that both provided a reliable drinking water source to the local community and enabled a new health clinic that was awaiting a water source to open. Without a reliable drinking water source, this new clinic, and other health clinics cannot operate.
The clean water solutions needed by the Navajo Nation that are delivered by Wood experts will positively impact future generations through providing safe, reliable sources of drinking water to their communities, healthcare facilities and schools. Wood is proud of our work in clean water and wastewater solutions that provide infrastructure that sustains economic development that is improving the livelihood of the Navajo people. With the future in mind, in 2020, the Navajo Nation awarded Wood with an $8M contract to design and provide construction observation for four wastewater treatment plants, protecting public health for an estimated 5,300 households, 37 schools, and 7 clinics and hospitals, preserving the quality of precious surface and groundwater resources in four of the largest Navajo communities.
Additional solutions delivered include the initial master planning on integrated water projects which sustainable water use plans were developed. These projects assessed community need and tapped into an array of funding from grants, as well as understanding legalities connected to water rights. This work, with wide stakeholder management, has been continual, always looking at the need, the potential impact and funding for the Navajo people. Wood continues to unlock water solutions that touch the full water lifecycle from source to tap and back again which enable a sustainable, resilient and livable future for the Navajo Nation.