Warm Springs Indian Reservation water treatment plant closed

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. — Officials at the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in north-central Oregon issued an emergency water conservation advisory after an underground fire shut down the plant treatment of tribal water.

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs asked residents starting Friday to limit water use to only essential needs, KTVZ-TV reported.

In a Facebook post, officials said the advisory affected users in the agency area, Upper Dry Creek, Sunnyside, Wolfe Point and the Kah-Nee-Ta hamlets.

Tribal Emergencies Director Dan Martinez said an underground electrical fire “caused a complete shutdown of the water plant.”

“It’s totally broken, out of order,” Martinez said Saturday, as he was busy with other tribal officials bringing in showers and toilets. It’s the latest chapter in years of problems with the reservation’s aging water system, which has included outages, broken pipes and contamination that have prompted several lengthy boil water advisories.

The landmark federal infrastructure bill passed late last year includes funds to address serious water issues on reservations across the country, but such projects can take months to plan ⁠—and years to achieve.

Martinez said the water treatment plant could be closed for a week to two months and the reserve is looking for water donations.

Nohemi M. Moore