New technology on the Tohono O'odham Reservation may be able to solve the region's water scarcity by using a solar-powered system that gathers water vapor from the air. According to AZCentral, there is no "silver-bullet solution" to water scarcity in rural and Native American communities, but partial fixes and new technologies are growing through tribal and university-led partnerships.
CHEE assistant professor Vicky Karanikola has worked for years to bring clean water to rural and Native American communities, such as the San Carlos Apache Community.
“When we talk about sustainability, about doing projects with communities, the most important part is actually the communities being part of the equation,” Karanikola told AZCentral.
Karanikola worked with the students, both from the UA and Diné College, to build several off-grid water systems using nanofiltration, a water treatment technology that pushes pressurized water through a membrane to separate contaminants from water. They install the systems at tribal members’ homes in partnership with reservation-based consultant Sixth World Solutions.
“With solar nano-filtration we produce water at about $1.20 per 100 gallons,” Karanikola said.