For many living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, their closest source of clean running water is miles away from home.
Since 1987, Running Strong has drilled 400 water wells on the Pine Ridge!
The Lakota People say "Mni Wiconi" which means "Water is Life". We believe there is no greater gift for a family than a source of fresh potable water - the gift of life.
When Running Strong’s founder, Gene Krizek, visited the Pine Ridge Reservation for the first time over thirty years ago, Gene asked then tribal President Joe American Horse, “What do you need?”
Joe American Horse simply replied, “Water.”
Today, access to clean water remains one of the greatest needs on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
The Mni Wiconi (Water is Life) Project
In the late 1980s, the nine South Dakota Tribes, along with the federal government, created the Mni Wiconi (Water is Life) Water Project to divert Missouri River waters to the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations.
For over two decades, the project has encountered setbacks due the difficulty of consistently obtaining funding from the United States Congress.
It is currently estimated that the program will successfully bring water to Pine Ridge residents in five to ten years. Until that time, many people on the reservation lack running water in their homes and must travel miles to get fresh water for cooking and cleaning.
Bringing Water to the Reservation
Since October 1987, Running Strong has been working with local American Indian well-drillers to dig wells for Oglala families and community centers.
THE LAKOTA PEOPLE SAY MNI WICONI, WHICH MEANS 'WATER IS LIFE.' RUNNING STRONG BELIEVES THERE IS NO GREATER GIFT FOR A FAMILY THAN A SOURCE OF FRESH POTABLE WATER - THE GIFT OF LIFE. GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE.
Without our assistance, families linger on waiting lists for years because there are simply not enough federal and tribal resources to go around.
Despite the fact that the Oglala Acquifer (water table) continues to drop, meaning Running Strong must dig deeper wells each year, Running Strong is committed to drilling 13 wells every year.
• Running Strong has drilled 400 wells on Pine Ridge
• Each well averages 208 feet deep
• Each well costs approximately $10,000 to complete
• Running Strong works with the Indian Health Service to provide well recipients with septic systems
GIVE THE GIFT OF WATER