Chúush: Water for Warm Springs Campaign
Dorothea Thurby, from left, Britany Archer and Johnson Bill refill empty bottles for a local resident while working at the water distribution site at the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. (photographer: Ryan Brennecke, Bend Bulletin)

A Conservation Community Partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, MRG Foundation, and Warm Springs Action Team to Restore Tribal Access to and Infrastructure for Clean Water

Water is life. From the majestic vistas of the Columbia River Gorge to the enchanting wild, winding banks of the Deschutes River, many of Oregon’s most beloved natural places are defined by water. For generations it’s been the lifeblood of our region.

The combined pressures of climate change, rapid population growth, and aging public infrastructure, however, is placing increased strains on decades-old water systems. The community of Warm Springs is now threatened by one of most dire water emergencies our region has seen in recent history.

The people of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs—the largest reservation in the state of Oregon—are now in the second year of a devastating water crisis due to a series of pressure breaks in key community water lines. Over 60% of Warm Springs residents currently do not have regular, consistent access to clean water—preventing many families from regularly showering, doing laundry, or providing adequate water for livestock or crops.

That’s why Friends has joined with seven other leading Pacific Northwest conservation organizations in a new partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, MRG Foundation, and Warm Springs Community Action team to help the people of Warm Springs. Our goals are two-fold: strengthen available financial resources to meet immediate, emergency health needs and advocate for policy solutions needed to help the Tribes restore their access and infrastructure for clean water. The campaign was launched in October, 2020.

Warm Springs Chúush Fund campaign video (if viewing on a desktop computer, hover and click on title at top left to play with sound)

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs has been a leader in conservation and environmental advocacy, both before and after our organization came into existence. Recent victories to stop the building of coal and oil terminals along the Columbia River was in large part due to the efforts of Warm Springs and other Tribes around the Pacific Northwest.

We champion the existing innovative work by Tribal leaders, the MRG Foundation, and Warm Springs Community Action team, in the creation of The Chúush Fund—an inventive financing tool allowing both the public and institutional funders alike to directly assist the people of Warm Springs in confronting this crisis. And this campaign aims to build upon that work.

How You Can Help

Donate: The best way to give is through the MRG Foundations’ Chúush Fund. The link for direct donations is To donate by check, please send a check made out to “MRG Foundation” with “Water for Warm Springs” in the Notes line, to: PO Box 12489, Portland, OR 97212. Institutional funders interested in assisting should contact Dena Zaldúa, Development Director with the MRG Foundation (

Please note: The Warm Springs Tribe is currently not accepting gifts of bottled water due to storage issues.

Advocate: Write to Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley thanking them for sponsoring the Western Tribal Water Infrastructure Act and expressing support for its passage. The bill would authorize $30 million annually for tribal water projects in Oregon.

Educate: More on The Chúush Fund can be found online at the MRG Foundation’s website and we encourage you to share a recently produced community video exploring the impacts of the water crisis and how the public can help:

Chúush: Water for Warm Springs Campaign - participating organizations


For more information please contact Friends Communications Director Burt Edwards or Community Engagement Specialist Natasha Stone.