HORTON, Kan. - Angry, churning clouds brought much-needed rain to the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas.
For the first time in months the Kickapoo Reservation saw measurable amounts of rainfall as a line of storms passed over the area June 13.
"We got three-quarters to an inch last night," Acting Chairwoman Nancy Bear said the following day. "Up toward Sabetha got a couple of inches. We got our construction project completed and we are starting to see the water run into it. You can see that water is above the cement on the dam. We finished the project and now we are catching some of that water that would have been going over the dam."
The construction project was carried out by tribal members hoping to raise the dam and allow it to hold back more water. The crew barely finished the project in time.
Bear said 5 inches of water had to be released from the dam in order to work on it. "That killed my soul when they let that water out, but we had to."
Within hours, the sky grew dark and the rain began. The whole storm passed 40 minutes, but it dumped enough rain to make a difference for the tribe, which has been living day by day with a water shortage. The tribe has struggled to find a way to keep enough water for everyday living on the reservation.
Although the Kickapoo aren't out of the woods yet, Bear believes there is hope. " ... if we can get an inch of rain every week and we build that up, that will keep us in water until we can get something else in place."
Bear said the tribe was still waiting for results of the Kansas Geological Survey on test wells drilled on the reservation. When those results come in, the tribe will determine if it will be worth digging wells to supplement Delaware River water for the next couple of years until permanent arrangements can be made for a dependable water supply.
"We're in business here," Bear concluded.