Date of Award


First Advisor

Mike Bergman

Second Advisor

Mileta Roe


Around the world, millions of people travel up to eight hours a day in order to collect drinking water [6][7]. Most of them live in developing countries with limited infrastructure [6]. Surprisingly however, there are several thousand people who fit this description living within the wealthiest nation on the planet, the United States of America [5][8]. Tucked into the desert in the southwest, along the border of Arizona, lies the Navajo Nation, a reservation for people of the First Nations, where 40% of households lack running water [8]. For nearly two centuries, through forced displacement and the systematic leveraging of public and private ownership of the lands and rivers surrounding the reservation and by the restriction of state and federal funds, people there have been denied the basic water infrastructure they need and deserve [5]. Somewhat recently, plans have been made to expand pipe infrastructure in the area [5], but this project will take several years [8]. Until the pipes are installed, the residents of the Navajo Nation will have to continue their current routine: driving to a local water point, filling up containers in the trunk of their car or in the back of their truck with drinking water, and driving home [8][9][10]. For a portion of the Nation this process is functional. Large tanks that fit in the backs of pickup trucks or trailers already exist [8]. There have also been projects involving communal water trucks that deliver to residents living along designated routes [9][10]. However, there are many residents with cars rather than trucks and many who don’t live along the routes of the communal trucks [9]. These people have to resort to a laborious process that involves lifting heavy buckets of water into cars and then carrying them into their home [8][9]. This process is especially difficult for the elderly, and for the differently-abled [9]. The goal of this project is to design a practical water transportation system that makes hauling water in a car an easier and safer process that does not require lifting any heavy objects. The result is the Navajo Nation Elephant Trunk,

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