PHOENIX and THE NAVAJO NATION, Ariz. -- Help is on the way! Those words are music to the ears of at least 10,000 people living in the Navajo Nation who have been without running water for as long two months.
The cold snap that had us shivering in the Valley a few weeks ago, devastated an entire area in Northeastern Arizona. Pipes froze and burst, and some of the infrastructure was ruined.
The severe ground freezing has stifled the water supply, impacting main water lines of residents and businesses within a 60-mile radius a Chinle, including Kayenta, Dilkon, Pinedale and Window Rock.
In comes Operation Winter Freeze. Nearly a dozen SRP workers have volunteered to head to the High Country to help.
They left at 7 a.m. Thursday with six trucks and two trailers carrying large excavation and trenching equipment.
"This is what we do every day in The Valley. We're happy to help" said Dale Persons, one of the many workers leaving.
The crew, expecting temperatures in the 20s some mornings, were bundled up and ready to go.
"We will be out there as long as it takes to get the job done," Persons said. It should be about three week.
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, who signed an emergency declaration two weeks ago, right after the cold snap, estimates the damages could cost as much as $2.8 million.
Earlier this week, Gov. Jan Brewer declared a state of emergency for the affected area. That released $200,000 for repair work.
Chinle is about 230 miles northeast of Phoenix.