Many small towns and reservations across the Mountain West face crumbling bridges, roads and water systems. President Trump’s new infrastructure plan may address these problems in the rural West. But a Montana reservation is dealing with an infrastructure crisis right now.
Nearly 200 homes are still without running water on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation after a cold snap broke pipes there last Friday.
“We are delivering water to the villages and the homes that are affected by the water loss," says Chippewa Cree tribal chairman Harlan Baker. "We’re delivering drinking water, bottled water to them.”
He says they are also ordering residents who still have running water to boil it before drinking.
The Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation has been plagued by water shortages because federal funding for a much-need water project hasn’t come through.
If built, the multi-million-dollar pipeline would pump in near-endless amounts of fresh drinking water to the reservation and nearby communities.
Last summer, Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester helped reintroduce bipartisan legislation to fund that project and other, similar ones across the West.
“I think it’s really important that we invest in this infrastructure if we’re going to have a rural America in the 21st century,” Tester says.
The bill has since stalled in committee.