Water from the air? Innovative partnership brings drinking water to remote Arizona communities

A SOURCE hydropanel on Navajo land
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July 6, 2023 — Local First ArizonaOpens in a new tab. is teaming up with Source GlobalOpens in a new tab. to revolutionize access to drinking water in remote Arizona communities. Source Global’s state-of-the-art hydropanels will be installed in more than 800 homes across the state, ensuring over 3,400 peopleOpens in a new tab. have access to safe, clean drinking water in their homes for the first time. The hydropanels have already been installed in more than 50 countries, including at over 500 homes on the Navajo Nation, where they save tribal families up to $840 annually by cutting down on the need to purchase or transport bottled water.

Thanks to a $7.5 million grantOpens in a new tab. from the Arizona Drinking Water Program and the assistance of Local First, these off-grid, renewable systems will be provided at no cost to homeowners.  Fill out the application on Source Global’s website (scroll down a bit at this link).

Serving Diverse Communities.

The initiative is designed to serve a broad range of communities throughout Arizona, including tribal communities, colonia residentsOpens in a new tab. in southern Arizona, and rural communities outside of the state’s six Active Management Areas.

Groundbreaking Technology Explained.

Hydropanels operate using solar energy to power fans that draw in air, which is then passed through a material that absorbs water. Through this passive process, water vapor is converted into mineralized drinking water, which is both healthy and tastes good. The water is stored in a tank and can be accessed as needed. The systems are placed in a sunny area near the home and can be tapped directly from the outdoor panels or via a faucet inside the home. The technology does not require electricity or hard pipes.

Addressing a Critical Need.

Statistics highlight the dire need for this initiative. Nearly half of all tribal homes lack access to reliable water sources, clean drinking water, or basic sanitation, according to a study by the Center for Natural Resources and Environmental PolicyOpens in a new tab.. Additionally, in Yuma County, about 30% of colonia residents didn’t have access to safe, clean drinking water, as per the Rural Community Assistance Partnership.

Education, Employment Opportunities, and Community Empowerment.

The Arizona Drinking Water Program is not just about providing water; it’s also about empowering communities. Colin Goddard, Source Global’s Vice President of Business DevelopmentOpens in a new tab., spoke of the educational aspect, helping communities understand the capabilities of this new technology. Moreover, members of the communities will have the opportunity to become certified Source hydropanel installers, fostering employment and skill-building.

Jenna Rowell, Local First Arizona’s Director of Rural Development, reiterated the importance of access to clean water as a fundamental human right and highlighted the program’s goal to make a meaningful difference for thousands of Arizonans.

Company’s Background and Funding.

Source Global, founded in 2015 by Cody Friesen, an Arizona State University professor, initially operated under the name Zero Mass Water. In 2022, Source Global raised $130 million in a series D equity financing round, marking the largest single capital raise among Arizona startups for that year. This was part of an overall $270 million in funding raised to date, enabling the company to expand its reach to 50 countries.

Residential Hydropanels: A Step Forward.

Source Global recently unveiled a residential line of hydropanels. These 4 feet by 6 feet panels, weighing less than 300 pounds, are shipped directly to homeowners and can produce the equivalent of 180 bottles of drinking water per month.

Colin Goddard emphasized that this new product ensures “every single Arizonan — no matter where they live — has access to clean drinking water.”


SOURCE® bringing water to Navajo Nation from SOURCE Water on Vimeo.

Today 13,000 Navajo homes lack access to running water. SOURCE technology presents and offers an opportunity for more than 50,000 residents living in remote parts of Navajo Nation areas to access clean drinking and cooking water supply. As a scalable and rapidly-deployed household solution, SOURCE complements existing water supplies such as wells and rainwater collection offering a faster and more cost-effective path to improve the compliance, health and quality of life in remote communities. {Top image is a screenshot from this video.}



Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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