It’s crystal clear how a Boeing grant is helping bring water to Navajo families

Funding from Boeing is supporting DigDeep’s Navajo Water Project which brings clean water to homes on the Navajo Nation.

November 02, 2021 in Community

Carol turns on the water for the first time at her home in Thoreau, New Mexico.

Photo credit: DigDeep

In August 2021, Carol, who lives on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico with her husband, Walter, and their children and grandchildren, watched in awe as clean water poured out of a tap for the first time ever. Thanks to an innovative water system invented by DigDeep, a Boeing nonprofit partner, Navajo communities across the Southwest are gaining access to clean water.

Carol immediately thanked the installation team from DigDeep asking them if they needed any water from the new system because they'd “been working all day out in the hot sun.”

DigDeep’s Navajo Water Project focuses on installing solar-powered, off-grid home water systems in homes across the Navajo Nation. Approximately one-third of those living on the Navajo Nation lack clean running water or basic plumbing at home, requiring them to travel miles by car or on foot to get clean water.

During the pandemic, DigDeep stopped the home installations to ensure the safety of workers and clients. Motivated to find a way to continue providing running water to more homes, DigDeep technicians invented the “suitcase system,” a no-contact way to place above-ground, fresh-water tanks outside homes. When it’s safe to resume in-home construction, these units will be moved inside and effectively transformed into the full home water system.

Installation of water systems like those at Carol and Walter’s home were made possible, in part, by a $100,000 grant from Boeing in 2020.

“DigDeep staff feel a personal connection to every family who receives a water system,” said Emma Robbins, executive director of the Navajo Water Project. “It is crucial for us to continue this work safely during the pandemic. Boeing's generous donation has helped us get more families clean water, which in turn helps these families thrive.”

By the end of 2021, DigDeep will have deployed approximately 1,500 portable water storage tanks across the Navajo Nation. DigDeep is also partnering with Navajo Technical University and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials to create a plumbing certificate training program to help young Navajo men and women find employment.

“We are proud to partner with DigDeep as they work toward getting clean water to everyone living on the Navajo Nation,” said Sam Whiting, director of Boeing Global Engagement, West Coast region. “Witnessing what DigDeep and our other community partners are accomplishing every day in Indigenous communities inspires our commitment to continued support of their vital work.”

This year, DigDeep is receiving another grant from Boeing to support the Navajo Water Project. In observance of Native American Heritage Month, Boeing is investing in 21 other programs like the Navajo Water Project to support Indigenous communities across the U.S. The funding package, totaling $1.8 million, will help provide resources for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, increase natural disaster response and preparation in high-risk communities, support STEM education programs for Native American students, and workforce training and professional development for veterans. Read the full press release here for a full list of grantees.

Over the past three years, Boeing has invested more than $2.6 million in organizations supporting Native Americans and other Indigenous communities in the U.S. – bringing the company’s global support for Indigenous populations over the same time period to $3.3 million.

Read the full press release here for a full list of grantees.