Kaw Lake a topic at state Capitol study

Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Tom Buchanan gives a presentation at Monday's interim study on the importance of water to agriculture. (Photo provided)

Enid received a shout out at the state Capitol during an interim study on water, water conservation and drought Monday.

Oklahoma Water Resources Board Executive Director J.D. Strong spoke about Northwest Oklahoma Water Action Plan, which was released in June.

"We have seen grassroots effort, particularly in western Oklahoma, which has been the most drought ravaged," Strong said. "The action plans take the data and projections from the comprehensive water plan and use it as a basis for regional water planning."

Strong said part of that plan includes a system to convey water from Kaw Lake to northwest and north central Oklahoma.

OWRB approved the city of Enid's application to take water from Kaw Lake, allowing Enid to take up to 18 million gallons per day.

The city is in negotiations with Garver for the Kaw pipeline project, said Brent Kisling, of Enid Regional Development Alliance.

Depending on negotiations, the planning for the project could begin in 2016, Kisling said. The project could take eight years to complete.

Kisling said it is important Enid has diversified water sources, which is why Kaw makes sense.

Construction of the pipeline is expected to take five to seven years. The project will cost the city between $200 million and $300 million.

According to City Manager Jerald Gilbert, Enid built a 30-mile pipeline to Ames in the 1950s and a 28-mile pipeline to Cleo Springs in the early 1980s.

The Kaw Lake pipeline is part of a plan to secure water for the next 50 years.

"It was one of the priorities we saw come out of the Northwest Water Action Plan," Strong said. "They were supportive of ongoing studies in the Enid area: the Enid Isolated Terrace, the Cimarron River Alluvial and the North Canadian River Alluvial because there are a lot of groundwater users in that area."

Gilbert said Enid is one of the few cities dependent on groundwater.

Strong said when aquifers, and other groundwater supplies go dry, it's not the fact the sources are dry but that it is no longer economically feasible to pump from that area.

The next Northwest Oklahoma Water Action Plan Steering Committee meeting is 10 a.m. Nov. 16 at Convention Hall.

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