The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 24, 2013

Enid mayor says summer water shortage possible

By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Enid Mayor Bill Shewey said the city may be in for a water shortage this summer.

At an Enid Rotary Club luncheon Monday, Shewey answered a question from the audience after speaking about Koch Nitrogen’s plan to curb its own water use.

Shewey said that Koch currently purchases about 5 million gallons per day out of the city’s fresh water reserves, and within the next two years, would draw down its use to less than a million gallons.

Koch’s plans also include using wastewater, also known as gray water.

A Rotarian asked Shewey if he thought there would be a water shortage until that point.

“Do you want my honest opinion? Yes,” Shewey said.  

On some of the hottest days of the year, city water customers will use about as much as the city can pump, he said.

“If we don’t have any 100-degree days in July and August, it’ll be a lot better than last year,” said Shewey.

On the issue of water, the mayor also said the city is building two new water towers to help with pressure. A million-gallon tank will be in operation near Meadowlake Park and another tower, capable of holding 750,000 gallons, is going up at 30th and Chestnut, he said.

The mayor said Enid also is  looking for new water sources.

“Water is always an issue in Enid. I can tell you that our city spends five hours every day working on the water situation,” he said. “It will get better, but it’s going to be a while.”

During his State of the City speech at Rotary, Shewey reported Enid is “very healthy.”

“We’re very healthy financially. All our bills are paid and we have money in the bank,” he said. “And yes, we spend money. I understand that. Some people like the way we spend money, some people don’t. Everybody has their own opinion.”

He mentioned the sale of the old Homeland building, the “de-malling” process, a Vietnam Memorial replica to be unveiled on Veterans Day at Enid Woodring Regional Airport and an extension of the Woodring runway as several positive developments in the city.

The problems in Enid are good problems to have, he said, when considering the housing shortage and frequent congestion on the city’s arterial streets.