Antinanco and K’eh Native Action bring solar water pumps to Sacred Mountain Sundance Community in Pinon

The organization Antinanco partnered with K’eh Native Action to install more solar water pumps to remote homes on the Navajo and Hopi reservations in September. Workers and volunteers (below) take a break while installing the pumps. (Photos/Bitahnii Wilson/Antinanco)

The organization Antinanco partnered with K’eh Native Action to install more solar water pumps to remote homes on the Navajo and Hopi reservations in September. Workers and volunteers (below) take a break while installing the pumps. (Photos/Bitahnii Wilson/Antinanco)

PINON, Ariz. — Antinanco, together with its partners at K’eh Native Action, have installed more To’h Ni’li’ — Water is Flowing — solar units for households and communities with no access to running water on the Navajo and Hopi reservations.

K’eh Native Action is an Indigenous-led grassroots organization that has been delivering water and critical relief to elders, veterans and the most vulnerable people of the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and Apache communities since the onset of the pandemic.

The To’h Ni’li (which means “Water is Flowing” in Dine’h language) Project started in the fall 2021. The Water is Flowing units offer a solar-based solution that brings pressurized running water into households from an external water source, which can be integrated into household plumbing or be used as a stand-alone solution.

Up to 40 percent of households in remote parts of the Navajo Nation have no access to clean running water at home and use externally-installed 55-500 gallon drums or barrels.


A sink was donated by NABI Native American Bahai Institute donated to help with a pump demostration. (Photo/Bitahnii Wilson)

Some Dine’h live on 10 gallon of water a day, which is equivalent to just a few toilet flushes (most Americans use 100 gallons a day). Some lack even the most basic external water drums, relying on friends and neighbors for water delivery.

Among the latest installations from K’eh Native Action and Antinanco are those at the Old Borrego Pass Trading Post in Borrego Pass, New Mexico and the Sacred Mountain Sundance Community in Pinon, Arizona.

“We have been delivering water to the Borrego Pass Trading Post that is transforming into the Hozho Training Center for the surrounding community and for people to learn about how to start up self-sufficient living in gardening and raising livestock, and how to survive and live off the land,” said Bitahnii Wilson of K’eh Native Action.

With the help of the Water is Flowing Water solar pump, the Borrego Pass Trading Post community can now direct the water flow to where it is needed the most, without the necessity of carrying heavy water buckets to meet the drinking, washing and watering needs.

When Jo’Ann Whiting and Wilson go to install the Water is Flowing solar pumps, they do not know what kind of a situation they will encounter. Some households and community centers lack properly-functioning utilities, plumbing and other infrastructure. Often, along with installing the solar pumps, Whiting and Wilson also setup external water tanks, install utility sinks, build counters and supply water.

“It’s a blessing that we are able to provide a solution for people who would otherwise not have access to running water, as they live too far from any water lines, and meet these people’s needs,” Whiting said.

Recently, the Water is Flowing project was joined by Sinmuy Amungem —For the People, an all-volunteer grassroots team devoted to assisting and providing resources to the Hopi communities, and by the Forgotten People non-profit community, an organization that delivers water, water barrels, solar water pumps and other relief to remote communities, and is dedicated to improving the well-being of the Dine’ people who live on the Navajo Nation in Arizona.


Water flows from a solar pump into a sink. (Photo/Bitahnii Wilson)

Together, the organizations assist their communities by assembling and installing the Water is Flowing solar units.

“It makes us very happy to see that more and more members, including young people, from the Dine’h and Hopi communities are joining this effort, learning about solar energy and getting involved in applying these solutions to strengthen their communities’ self-sufficiency and sovereignty,” said Antinanco’s Managing Director Olga Sher. “When we originally designed the first Water is Flowing unit prototype at Antinanco, our vision was to not only provide a reliable and self-contained solution that can bring running water to the households in need, but to also gradually transfer the ownership of the project to the communities themselves. We are happy that our vision is now coming to life.”

During the first six months, the Antinanco team designed, built and tested the first two prototype units, while K’eh Native Action installed the units and monitored their performance.

The project is now in Phase 2, with more units being installed and more on-the-ground partners receiving training and joining the project as installers and technicians. The project goal is to provide reliable, cost-effective solution for the water insecurity in a way that allows people to continue living independently.

The project is supported by CVE North America, the AMB Foundation, as well as by many partners and volunteers. Accomplis and Green Light Energy provided crucial support to the project during its Phase 1 development.

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