The city of Enid continues to move ahead with the Kaw Lake water pipeline project.

At a recent Enid City Commission study session, city leaders discussed cost-cutting options for the project, which is the biggest project ever undertaken by the city.

At the meeting, commissioners heard that the cost estimate has gone up to $470 million, up from $451 million.

Major elements of infrastructure include an intake pump station on the west bank of Kaw Lake, approximately 70 miles of pipeline, a booster pump station about two-thirds of the way to Enid to boost the pressure, emergency and equalization storage reservoirs along the way, a water treatment plant to produce drinking water and some distribution system improvements to blend the groundwater and distribute the drinking water to the community.

In order to make it a more affordable project today, some actions could include deferring certain improvements entirely — until those are needed or affordable at some point in the future, commissioners were told. Some of those items that could be deferred include the intermediate booster pump station and emergency terminal storage reservoir. Those are discussions that need to be heard and considered.

We understand costs change, usually increasing. That happens as time goes on, and materials become more expensive. We just think the people need to be kept in the loop. The project is a long way from being completed, but we hope the city continues to be transparent throughout the process. 

As we said, this is the biggest project the city has ever undertaken. It’s also arguably one of the most important.

Securing a source of water for the foreseeable future is important in so many ways. For one, residents need a reliable water source. The water fields west of the city have served us well, and will continue to serve, but you have to wonder as more strains from other areas, including increased agricultural usage, are put on the aquifers. The prolonged drought we’re experiencing is another issue. When it doesn’t rain, the aquifers don’t get recharged. 

We also need water if we want to grow economically. Without more water, we would limit what businesses we could recruit. Water studies have shown we will need more water as the city grows. Looking out to 2072, the city could need an average daily supply of 19.2 million gallons. Studies have shown a sustainable supply available from the city’s current well fields is 6 million gallons per day.

We like that city leaders have been open about the project so far. Enid City Commission gets regular updates that are discussed in open meetings, and the city created the Kaw Lake Funding Oversight Committee to keep an eye on the project.

Transparency is the key, keeping the people up to date and involved in the project.

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