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Nonprofit will donate water-generating machine to the Oglala Sioux Tribe

The Oglala Sioux Tribe will soon receive a machine to help residents gain access to clean water. Watergen’s GEN-M device pulls humidity from the air and filters it. Depending on the climate, it can generate up to 233 gallons per day. 

The machine is a donation from Bright Path Strong, a nonprofit focused on amplifying Native American stories and voices, and founded in honor of legendary athlete Jim Thorpe. Nedra Darling is the co-founder of the organization.

“And when we looked at all the needs, we knew that this was something that needed to go to Oglala Lakota Nation," she said. "It's mind blowing. I mean, because is it really that simple? But it is. I mean, there's a lot of scientific effort that went into pulling the machine together, but it does work.”

Darling said the water generator is a small step in the fight for access to clean drinking water, but her organization is proud to make the contribution. 

Lack of access to clean water is a problem on many tribal reservations. A 2018 study by the U.S. Water Alliance and nonprofit DigDeep found Native American households were nearly 20 times more likely to lack indoor plumbing than white households.

Darrell Hernandez is the legislative liaison for the Oglala Sioux Tribe. 

“We do have a need, a definite need, the need is there that our tribal members are needing water. Kind of has a little small light at the end of the tunnel for most of our communities.”

Hernandez said they plan to set up the machine in a central location. Bright Path Strong hopes to deliver the device early this year.

Megan hosts All Things Considered and the SDPB News podcast.