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Israeli, Native American partnership brings clean water to Navajo Nation

Jerusalem Post

JULY 8, 2021

Israeli company Watergen has installed a Gen-M water generator at Rocky Ridge Gas and Market (RRGM), located in the Hard Rock Community of the Navajo Nation in Arizona as part of a pilot project to ensure access to clean drinking water for Indigenous American communities.

The Gen-M water generator's innovative technology creates high quality drinking water from air, and the pilot project aims to address the lack of access to clean drinking water within the Hard Rock community. According to a recent study by the Global Water Institute, an estimated 10,000 families across Navajo Nation lack access to running water.

The generator produces up to 211 gallons of purified drinking water per day, depending on climate conditions. The effectiveness of the generator will be monitored in the Hard Rock Community, and if it proves to be successful, Watergen will evaluate the extent to which their technology can help other communities within the Navajo Nation.

The Navajo Nation is an Indigenous American territory covering parts of the states of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, and is over 27,000 square miles in size. It is the largest land area still retained by an Indigenous tribe in the United States and has over 330,000 members, 175,000 of whom reside on the reservation.

Commenting on the decision to launch the pilot project, Doctor Michael Mirilashvili, President and CEO of Watergen, said, “the drinking water crisis is the most important issue of our time, and it is for that reason that Watergen is working tirelessly to realize one goal: to bring drinking water from the air to people everywhere.

"When I heard about the dire situation in Navajo Nation, I immediately decided that Watergen would be active in delivering our solution there as quickly as possible. It is our great pleasure to work together with the local leadership, StandWithUs, and Bright Path Strong in providing this sustainable and innovative source of clean drinking water. The result will be increased water access to local residents, which in turn fosters better public safety and health in this time of crisis. I am sure that this is just the beginning, and that together we will bring even more devices to the region and to Native American communities around the country.”

The project, which will be based at the RRGM Navajo-owned convenience store, was facilitated by store owner Germaine Simonson; Tó Nizhóní Ání, a community organization which protects the water of Black Mesa and Navajo Nation; StandWithUs, an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization; Bright Path Strong, a Native led non-profit; and 4D Products & Services, a Native American certified Small Disadvantaged Business and the exclusive Watergen distributor for Indian Country.

"StandWithUs is honored to work with members of the Navajo Nation on this important pilot project, and hope it is the first of many we do together," said Max Samarov, Executive Director of Research & Strategy at StandWithUs. "We are also deeply grateful to Watergen and their visionary President, Doctor Michael Mirilashvili. This partnership is a unique opportunity to engage with Israel and help ensure Watergen's technology reaches communities that need it most."

Also working in coordination with the project was Arlando Teller, former Arizona State Representative and current Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs for the US Department of Transportation, and Arizona State Representative Alma Hernandez.

In addition to the pilot project at RRGM, a crowdfunding campaign has been launched which aims to bring the Gen-M generator to additional Native American communities. As part of the campaign, Watergen and 4D will be matching donations up to $400,000.

For StandWithUs, this partnership is at the center of a larger initiative called Connect for Progress.

Executive Director of Tó Nizhóní Ání, Nicole Horseherder, commented on the urgency of the project saying: "We live in a region in which drinking water sources have been compromised by coal mining. Any way to mitigate the need for water while the aquifers recover is critical.”

"Access to clean drinking water has long been a threat to many Native communities and the onslaught of climate change is accelerating this challenge, said Bright Path Strong Board Member Dennis Hendricks.

"Bright Path Strong is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Watergen to bring their life-giving technology to help alleviate this need within tribal communities — areas where some of the most vulnerable reside."

Read the article here.


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