IWSH Foundation’s 2018 Community Plumbing Challenge Focuses on Navajo Nation

Oct. 23, 2018

The Navajo Water Project was one of the 2018 recipients of the U.S. Water Prize

In Thoreau, N.M., the International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IWSH) Foundation’s 2018 Community Plumbing Challenge (CPC) began on Oct. 22. According to a IAPMO Group press release, the focus of the CPC is the Navajo Water Project, an initiative of the nonprofit organization DigDeep. The project was one of the 2018 recipients of the U.S. Water Prize. The project's goal is to help ensure every American has clean, running water forever.

According to the IAPMO Group press release, the CPC assembles a team of tradespeople to execute plumbing and construction projects that improve living conditions in approximately 10 households nominated by DigDeep. A range of bathroom and kitchen renovations will be carried out, including the installation of new basins, taps, toilets, water tanks, water pumps, and hot and cold-water pipework. The renovations are required in order for the homes to be connected to water supply systems.

The CPC participants in the Ambassador Program took part in the “Water and Sanitation Crisis in America Roundtable: Government & Industry Working Together for Solutions” at the Thoreau Chapter House. According to the IAPMO Group, the roundtable looked at issues facing more than 1.6 million people across the U.S. without access to clean water and safe sanitation.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M, said the geography of the Navajo Nation is so challenging that numerous things must be done at the same time to create basic infrastructure. According to the IAPMO Group press release, the federal Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project will result in hundreds of miles of new supply line, but areas like Thoreau may remain out of reach at this time.

“That still doesn’t connect people in these really remote areas,” Heinrich said to the IAPMO Group. “You have to have multiple different approaches, and having skilled labor come and make sometimes really basic fixes that make things work in somebody’s own home? That’s just invaluable, absolutely invaluable, and so I think we need to learn how to walk and chew gum at the same time, really build on these partnerships, look at how we do the same sort of approach for electrification in many of these remote locations, and all work together as a team.”

The project work is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 26. A community forum and presentation will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the Baca-Prewitt Chapter House. The farewell ceremony will be at 6 p.m. on Oct. 26 at the El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, N.M.