Her hands gripping the steering wheel, Marilyn Help-Hood gingerly drove her rugged Ford pickup truck along rutted unpaved roads, occasionally sliding in the mud, in search of one thing: water.

After a bumpy 4-mile drive in the eastern reaches of the Navajo Nation reservation in Twin Lakes, New Mexico, she arrived at her local well. Helped by her son Shane, 31, Help-Hood attached a hose to a tap at the base of the well and began filling a plastic barrel in the back of her truck with the untreated water.

Help-Hood, 66, has no running water at her small one-story home and needs to regularly replenish her supplies for drinking, cooking, washing dishes and feeding her small collection of sheep, horses and dogs. Even cleaning dishes is a complicated procedure without the benefit of turning on the tap, involving two different basins of water, one for washing and one for rinsing.