The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs is ready to conduct an assessment of the domestic water system on the reservation. The study will be funded through a grant from the USDA. The goal of this project is eventually to install water meters at all residential and commercial buildings on the reservation. This would create a great savings in water usage on the reservation. The meters will allow tribal Utilities to identify where the leaks are in the system, and which households may be over-using water. And the amount of leakage and over-use is significant. A study last year looked at the amount of water produced at the water treatment plant, in comparison to the number of water hook-ups on the reservation.
With no water meters, there is no cost for residential water usage among reservation households. For this reason there is no incentive to conserve water. The tribes may look at implementing a water rate system, on a scale based on usage. Currently, the Confederated Tribes spend more than $1 million per year on domestic water. This money comes from the general fund. There are some paying customers, such as the casino, museum and commercial buildings. But this covers only about 15 percent of overall water cost on the reservation.