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In Photos: Living Without Access to Clean Water on the Navajo Nation

More than 10,000 people on the largest Native American reservation in the United States live without regular access to clean drinking water.
August 24, 2015, 11:00pm
Imagen por VICE News

More than 10,000 people in the Navajo Nation — which includes parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado — live without regular access to clean drinking water.

Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation in the United States, has the highest concentration of water-poor homes in the country. At least 40 percent of the population on the reservation does not have access to clean running water.


The water situation is the result of isolated geography, extreme poverty, and a legacy of Uranium mining on Navajo soil. Thousands of water wells dot the reservation, but most have been marked unsafe to drink after decades of contamination.

VICE News met residents of Smith Lake, New Mexico, where many residents have to choose between infrequent deliveries from the "Water Lady," or risk drinking contaminated water.

Handout material from a community teach-in about water sovereignty and water contamination in Navajo Nation.

One of over 500 former Uranium mining sites throughout the reservation that has not been cleaned up.

Benjamin Lewis, a former Uranium hauler, on his porch in Thoreau, New Mexico.

Benjamin Lewis watches at the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority tests his land for a septic tank installation.

Darlene Arviso delivers water to over 200 families each month.

The clean water tank at St. Boneventure Christian Mission in Thoreau, NM.

All photos by VICE News.

This story was produced with support from LG as part of the Photos from Beyond program — click to see more photos from this series. VICE News maintains all editorial independence in the production of this content.