Arizona Navajo Project

Solar Power & Clean Water Access

Current Project Leads

Anna Philipp

Richard Trujeque

About the Project

The EWB at UCLA Arizona Navajo Water Project began in the 2016-2017 school year with the goal of creating an off-grid running water system to bring clean running water to individual homes in the Navajo Nation. The location of the project poses a unique challenge due to the fact that the houses on the reservation are very far apart and lack on-grid power and water.  Many residents of the reservation must store water outside their home and carry it in with buckets. This is the source of two problems: this method of water distribution is unsanitary because the water is exposed to many contaminants, and it places a physical burden on the many elderly residents that are forced to haul in the water themselves. In order to solve these problems, our team spent 2016-2017 designing an off-grid water system for a Navajo family in Black Mesa, Arizona, with the plan of replicating our system in the future to reach many more homes on the reservation.


Our 2016-2017 year was a success, as we completed the design and implementation of our prototype system and brought running water to a family on the reservation that hasn’t had it before.  The system consists of a buried tank, underground PVC piping, a pump for water distribution, and a solar panel power system for providing power to the pump.  Additionally, the system was expanded to include a shower, hot water supply, and greywater recycling to help the family with water conservation.

This year, we are beginning the process to scale up our design.  Our team is split into four technical groups: Pipe Design, Power Systems Design, Drafting, and Water Treatment.  These groups will help pipeline the design process so that we can focus on three sites in parallel this year.  Additionally, we are planning an assessment trip during the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend to collect data from each of the sites and meet the families.  Our goal is to implement our designs for all three homes this summer.

We hope that with our design for a new, cost-effective system, the community will be able to implement the system in each of the homes on the reservation, tailoring it to each household as necessary.

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