Israeli startup Watergen, which has developed a technology to produce water from air, has installed a generator for a Navajo Nation Native American community in Arizona to help them deal with a crippling water shortage.
The first generator was set up at the Rocky Ridge Gas & Market in northeast Arizona and aims to address the lack of access to clean drinking water within the Hard Rock community there, according to a joint press statement issued Thursday.
Nearly 10,000 families across Navajo Nation lack access to running water, per recent estimates. Local groundwaters have been contaminated over the years by mining and the situation has been exacerbated by the devastating drought affecting the Western United States.
The Watergen GEN-M generators produce up to 211 gallons (800 liters) of purified drinking water per day, depending on climate conditions. The Israeli startup will monitor the project’s effectiveness in the Hard Rock Community and evaluate whether it can be replicated elsewhere within the Navajo Nation.
“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,” said Nicole Horseherder, Executive Director of Tó Nizhóní Ání, a local environmental group, which is one of the partners in the initiative.
“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 Dennis Hendricks of Bright Path Strong, another local group involved in the initiative.
“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,” he said.
The historic drought affecting the region has seen Lake Mead on the Nevada-Arizona border fall to its lowest point since it was filled in the 1930s with the construction of the Hoover Dam. As a result, Arizona faces mandatory cuts next year in its Colorado River supply.
Watergen’s water-making machines use a series of filters to purify the air. After the air is sucked in and chilled to extract its humidity, the water that forms is treated and transformed into clean drinking water.
“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,” said Watergen CEO Michael Mirilashvili.
He said the project will lead to “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 latest project was also facilitated by Rocky Ridge Gas & Market store owner Germaine Simonson, 4D Products — the local Watergen distributer, and the pro-Israel group StandWithUs in coordination with US Department of Transportation Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs Arlando Teller.
Watergen has deployed its machines in over 60 countries, both developing countries lacking water infrastructure, such as India and Uzbekistan, and in areas of developed countries suffering from drought, such as California.