Reservation water treatment plant offline due to fire

March 19, 2022 GMT

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. (AP) — Officials with the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in north central Oregon have issued an emergency water conservation notice after an underground fire shut the tribes’ water treatment plant.

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

In a Facebook post, officials said the notice affects users in the Agency Area, Upper Dry Creek, Sunnyside, Wolfe Point and Kah-Nee-Ta Hamlets

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

“It’s totally down, out of operation,” Martinez said Saturday, while busy with other tribal officials bringing in showers and toilets. It’s the latest chapter in years of issues with the reservation’s aging water system, which has included outages, broken pipes and contamination that prompted several lengthy boil-water notices.


The large federal infrastructure bill passed late last year includes money to address serious water issues on the nation’s reservations, but such projects can take months to plan -- and years to complete.

Martinez said the water treatment plant could be shuttered from a week to two months and that the reservation is seeking water donations.