“. . . . Like much of the American West, Navajo Nation, the largest tribe in the country, has been in a prolonged drought since the 1990s, according to Margaret Hiza Redsteer, a professor at the University of Washington.
“As snowfall and rain levels have dropped, so have the sources of drinking water,” Dr. Redsteer said. “Surface streams have disappeared, and underground aquifers that feed wells are drying up. Conditions are just continuing to deteriorate.”
But unlike nearby communities like Gallup and Flagstaff, Navajo Nation lacks an adequate municipal water supply. About one-third of the tribe lives without running water.
The federal government says the groundwater in the eastern section of Navajo Nation that feeds its communal wells is “rapidly depleting.”
“This is really textbook structural racism,” said George McGraw, chief executive officer of DigDeep, a nonprofit group that delivers drinking water to homes that need it. Navajo Nation has the greatest concentration of those households in the lower 48 states, he said.”