Preservation Earth Project brings clean water to NM Navajo reservation

Aug. 17, 2020
Approximately 35 percent of the Navajo people live without running water and some travel to a remote site to fill barrels with water from a contaminated local spring.

GLADSTONE, N.J. -- The need for clean water is a daily challenge for many Navajo people of New Mexico and Arizona, but for at least one town, the Preservation Earth Project provided much needed relief.

This past July, Christopher Kenny and the 501c (3) organization, The Preservation Earth Project (PEP) arrived in Tsaile, N.M. Due to uranium mining, fracking and the overuse of pesticides over the years, the water supply was contaminated leading to a high rate of multiple diseases. Approximately 35 percent of the Navajo people live without running water and some travel to a remote site to fill barrels with water from a contaminated local spring. Now with the Covid-19 pandemic, the rate of infection is so high on the reservation because many needed to leave in search of clean water to drink and brought the virus back with them.

After fundraising the previous year, and spending many hours on calls with contractors, Native American leaders, and engineers, the plan came together. Kenny landed in Tsaile on a mission to help and to reverse this ongoing injustice.

The Preservation Earth Project created a solution to purify the water at that remote water source. The solution is a state-of-the-art, water purification system that runs on solar power and will operate 365 days a year, even if winter-like conditions exist. The systems components were carefully selected and engineered to guarantee results, be environmentally-friendly and serve the rural community for many years to come. 

Kenny remembers the stark beauty of the reservation -- the dried earth lay spotted with cacti and sagebrush. In the background, he viewed the outlines of the mountains.  He said, "These people are farmers and ranchers. They deserve, at the very least, the clean water that the rest of us take for granted. They felt forgotten until PEP arrived on the scene."

While the planning started over a year ago, just recently Mr.Kenny and the Preservation Earth Project achieved one of their goals; to provide solutions, assistance and aid to those who are impacted by environmentally-related disasters. Some of the Preservation Earth Project's other achievements include providing alternative powered energy systems for purifying water following earthquakes in Haiti, The Dominican Republic, assistance to hurricane & flood victims in Louisiana and Texas, and mobile power units in the northeast following Hurricane Sandy.

"Being able to help others is a gift," said Kenny. "Having taken of few of my older boys on these trips, I've found that this can be transformative to a person of any age. It is proof that all people are fundamentally the same, and many times the only reason tensions exist between races are because they are propagated by external sources."

Alongside his decade long involvement with PEP, Christopher Kenny is the Head of Strategy & E-Trading relationships for an alternative trading system at Hartfield, Titus & Donnelly, a fixed income broker-dealer in New York.

"The spiritual leader of the Navajo people blessed the water source in the traditional manner, with corn pollen and prayer. The ceremony was too beautiful, complex and filled with symbolism," said Kenny. "Afterwards, the spiritual leader and his daughters spoke. The level of sincerity and appreciation could be seen through their veil of tears. They were profoundly moved by how the Preservation Earth Project showed up and made this facility possible. Everyone was excited and very happy knowing they once again had access to clean water."