The Haury Program announces funding for three water-related projects in the Navajo and Hopi Nations

The Haury Program announces funding for three water-related projects in the Navajo and Hopi Nations

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Mark Sorensen, STAR School (Painted Desert Demonstration Projects, Inc) and Jing Luo, Appex Apllied Technology, Inc. lead the "Water Bus" and "Air to Water" projects. The Water Bus project aims to serve as a rapid relief response effort which will provide safe drinking water to the Hopi Tribe villagers. The water bus will be deployed in Shipaulovi Village. The Water Bus's filtration system requires no external power sources as it is 100% solar powered. The Air to Water project aims to test a system powered by an integral combination of solar photovoltaics and high-efficiency solar thermal energy to produce water. The team will conduct a performance test of the SOURCE Hydro-Panel system to better understand the feasibility of applying “air to water” technologies in arid and semi-arid regions. The system will be deployed in the Navajo Nation. 

Dr. Vasiliki Karanikola, UArizona College of Engineering, is partnering with Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA), the Indian Health Service (IHS) Sanitation Facilities Construction Program, and a Chapter House in the Navajo Nation to develop Off-Grid Water Purification Units in Navajo Nation. The project aims to address the urgent need for food, energy, and water on the Navajo Nation that has been intensified due to COVID-19. The project leaders will use pressure-driven desalination methods, nanofiltration (NF), and reverse osmosis (RO) for the treatment of brackish waters such as those on the Navajo Nation while producing high-quality water. The system will be powered by solar panels. The team will construct and deploy two off-grid mobile water purification units to test the system. The overall goal of the project is to provide mid and long-term solutions to the food, energy, and water challenges in the Navajo Nation.

Dr. Karletta Chief, UArizona Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science in partnership with Northern Arizona University, University of New Mexico UCAL, and MSU will develop a Navajo COVID-19 Water Needs Map. The project aims to identify COVID-19 high-risk areas in the Navajo Nation. Through UArizona’s collaborations regarding water, health, and environmental health, project leaders will create a map that combines water quality, water infrastructure, health, and socio-economic data to identify areas on the Navajo Nation that are most at risk for a COVID-19 spike in the fall due to lack of access to water, food, and energy. 

The Haury Program is also funding a Ph.D. student, Nikki Tulley, to assist Dr. Karletta Chief to address water supply, access, and contamination issues on the Navajo Nation under the current COVID-19 pandemic, and plan for longer-term actions.