Friday, September 2, 2011

A Recent Trip to a Remote Navajo Village Reminded Me Why Clean Water Matters

By Richard Cavagnaro

Clean water is the body’s most essential nutrient. Water is necessary for the human body to work efficiently. Water regulates the body’s energy, digestion, blood pressure, respiration and joints and we can see our bodies start to deteriorate if we go without water for more than three days. So, what happens then if you are getting the adequate amount of water, but that water is contaminated? A recent trip to a remote well in the high desert of Arizona was eye-opening.

In early June, I travelled to the Navajo Nation with Helping Hands for Water, a non-profit organization founded by a group of employees at AdEdge. I spent three days in the desert along with two other members of the non-profit doing a site visit at the Box Springs well. We decided the way to fully understand the problem with the drinking water in that area was to completely immerse ourselves into the Navajo lifestyle. And we did just that.

We toured abandoned uranium mines, visited several wells contaminated with arsenic and uranium, but the most impactful part of the experience was talking with residents of the area to get their perspective on the water crisis. We had the opportunity to stay at a house on the reservation; however, this house had neither electricity nor running water. The only water source for these people is a well contaminated with arsenic and uranium which people travel up to 75 miles to access.

It’s reported this well is causing congestive heart failure, cancer, and kidney failure among those who depend on it as their main water source. One woman I met during my stay told me she goes to a funeral every month because of a water-related death. Another woman informed me her seven year old daughter had a ten pound tumor removed from her thyroid earlier in the year. Generations of Navajo have lived on the same land for decades and many are worried this generation may be the last.

Missionaries and other groups bring cases of bottled water to residents once a month; but a more permanent solution is required. Every drop of water is sacred to the residents. The few drops of water at the bottom of a bottle of water are used to clean a table.

As the trip progressed, I realized to take for granted clean drinking water. I also came to the conclusion that I waste an enormous amount of water on a daily basis. I let the shower run a little long in the morning. Run the dishwasher with it only being half full. Throw away a glass of water if it sits out a little too long.

AdEdge Water Technologies, LLC is partnering with Helping Hands for Water to provide a uranium treatment system for the people of Box Springs because we believe clean water should not be a privilege, it should be a right. A right that everyone in this world has access to.