Oklahoma City gets closer to water permit for lake
Posted September 27
OKLAHOMA CITY — A hearing examiner has determined that Oklahoma City is entitled to a permit for water from a reservoir in the southeastern part of the state.
The city seeks to take up to 115,000 acre feet (nearly 1.42 million cubic meters) of water annually from the Sardis Lake reservoir in the Kiamichi River basin, The Oklahoman reported . The reservoir impounds water from Jack Fork Creek, which is a tributary of the river.
The city plans to invest $1 billion in infrastructure upgrades to divert the water to Lake Stanley Draper.
Jim Couch, the city's manager, said the water will help the city's future growth.
The report by hearing examiner Lyn Martin-Diehl was released Tuesday. It said the water the city is seeking is available for appropriation and that the city's plans will put the water to beneficial use, which is a requirement under the law for obtaining a permit.
The Oklahoma Water Resources Board will consider Martin-Diehl's recommendations.
Opponents of the permit say it negatively would affect the Kiamichi's flow as well as wildlife and tourism in the area.
Martin-Diehl said the city's use of Sardis water won't interfere with the area's water needs with the proper management.
Acquiring the permit is one of the steps necessary to finalize last year's water settlement between the city, the state, and Choctaw and Chickasaw nations. The settlement aims to end litigation over water management in southeastern Oklahoma.
The settlement includes plans to manage the reservoir's levels and the river's flow as well as ensure tribes have a role in resource management in the region.