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Clean Water

Running Strong Has Been connecting families on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation To Running Water For Decades

When Running Strong for American Indian Youth® was formed in 1986, getting clean, safe drinking water to the residents of Pine Ridge was among its top priorities. Previously, Running Strong satisfied this need by drilling water wells. However, the need for wells declined as the Oglala Sioux Rural Water Supply System was created and water lines were laid providing access to water. 

Still, for many residents access to potable water remains unattainable. For some residents, who may live as close to just over 100 feet of the service line, the costs to run a line to their home and tap into the main line are too high. Many of these families have been on the waiting to be connected to the water line for years, on a waiting list of almost 500 households.

In fall 2015, Running Strong returned to its roots with a pilot program to provide families with what most Americans take for granted – running water –  by connecting their homes to the Rural Water Supply line through our program Mni Wiconi (Water is Life).

Following the success of our Mni Wiconi program, Running Strong expanded our water projects to the Navajo Nation, beginning with the District 11 communities of Wheatfields, Tsaile, and Lukachukai. This past year through Diné NaabehóTó (the Navajo People’s Water Challenge), Running Strong connected 13 households to water in these communities, providing 92 individuals with access to clean, running water.  

Learn more about our water programs here.

Spotlighted Programs

Over 30 families, representing 179 individuals on the Navaho Nation have been connected to running water through our Diné NaabehóTó (the Navajo People’s Water Challenge) since 2018.

Since 2015 Running Strong has been able to bring 117 families, representing 853 Lakota children, parents and elders, with all the water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

More Stories

"Just think, Running Strong has always found a way to assist these complex issues for our Lakota families, as long as we have funding in our budget, we will always be the sole provider for these unique situations that are an easy repair but due to regulations, families and elders run into these problems."
Ken Lone Elk
Running Strong Water Coordinator

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