December 30, 2013--Water poverty is a crisis for Navajo communities (Fronteras Desk)

During the season of giving we hear a lot about the small gifts that can help people in third world countries. Buy a goat, feed family in Nepal.  Donate money for tree seedlings, help farmers in India. But a new effort focuses this kind of development help closer to home, in this country, where many Navajo communities still lack running water. Georgianna Johnson and her grandmother have been waiting for the water truck. They live in the small Navajo community of Smith Lake, N.M., and their water barrels were getting low. “You know what we do?” Johnson laughs. “‘The water truck’s coming! Get the buckets ready!’ We get all happy. Today’s the day I’m going to take a bath.” She helps her grandmother pull her freshly washed silver hair back in a bun and put on her beaded jewelry. Despite her many wrinkles, Lindsay Johnson beams like a young girl because the water lady has just filled her barrels. “We cook with it,” Lindsay Johnson said. “And we wash our face with it. We took a bath with it and everything.” “Water’s has got to do with everything,” Georgianna Johnson said. “To wash the dishes my aunt tells us the rinsing water is still clean. She says use that the next time when you gonna wash dishes. That’s how we like make the water stretch.” Everyone in this remote high desert village in northwestern New Mexico has to make the water stretch. They are among the 40 percent of Navajo who have no running water.

To view the full article visit the Fronteras Desk. For a copy of the original article stop by or write the Water Information Program at 841 East Second Avenue, Durango, CO 81301 or call (970) 247-1302.