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Warm Springs Reservation issues emergency water conservation notice after fire

Warm Springs Indian Reservation issued an emergency water conservation notice issued after an underground fire.
Credit: AP
Dan Martinez, emergency manager for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, pauses in the hallway of a storage building filled with donated water on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, in Warm Springs, Ore. “The infrastructure bill brought joy to my heart because now it gives me hope — hope that it’s going to be repaired,” said Martinez, the tribes’ emergency manager, who expects to receive federal funds to replace underground pipes and address the 40-year-old treatment plant. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. — 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.

RELATED: Drinking water, pulled from vapor in the air, helping thousands in Warm Springs

Agency Water System Users are under an Emergency Water Conservation Notice. Please limit water use to essential needs...

Posted by Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon on Friday, March 18, 2022

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.

RELATED: Infrastructure bill to aid US tribes with water, plumbing

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.

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