Energy & Water
Navajo Solar Desalination Demonstration Project
Rural and remote populations often have limited opportunities and economic capacity to develop new water and energy supplies. On the Navajo nation, one of the largest tribes in the United States, 35% of the population does not have access to conventional energy and public water systems. Tribal members often haul potable and livestock water from water systems located great distances from their homes. Residents typically use far less water on a daily average and pay some of the highest prices per thousand gallons of water.
The UA Solar Desalination Group, Bureau of Reclamation and agencies and residents of the Navajo Nation have been investigating ways to develop new water supplies from brackish, impaired groundwater sources using off-grid advanced water treatment and renewable energy sources. These systems incorporate an economically and culturally appropriate desalination technology that utilizes renewable energy to service areas lacking basic infrastructure for water and electricity. It demonstrates the feasibility of solar-powered desalination using technologies that could be readily commercialized without extensive additional development. The entire process was designed specifically to operate as a completely autonomous, low maintenance system that can be operated by local personnel trained to operate and maintain the system.
Documentary: Seeking Water from the Sun - AZPM
- Ardeth Barnhart, Associate Director, Institute for Energy Solutions
- Robert Arnold, Professor, Chemical and Environmental Engineering
- Bureau of Reclamation Native American Affairs Office
- Bureau of Reclamation Office of Research
- Navajo Nation
- Navajo Chapters
- Grand Canyon Trust