City of Altus looking to resolve water rationing problem - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

City of Altus looking to resolve water rationing problem

ALTUS Okla_ The lingering drought has forced the City of Altus to look at some drastic measures when it comes to water rationing.

Altus's main water source, the Tom Steed Reservoir in Kiowa County, has dried up so much that it's now just 37% full. Next Tuesday, the Altus city council will decide whether to impose water restrictions.

However, Councilman Rick Henry said there is another solution. It lies in underground water wells and pipes that run in the southern part of the city.

He said even though the lake is only 37% full, water officials say that's enough to last three more years. That's assuming there's no significant rainfall during that time. So he believes that's plenty of time to work on an alternate source.

"Before we had the water treatment plant and got water from Tom Steed," Henry said. "We had wells south of town, and that's where the primary water came from."

Once the reservoir was built, the city stopped using the water wells. However, they built a pipeline from those wells to Texas, in order to sell that water to towns there. Councilman Henry believes the time is now right for Altus to tap back into those wells for their own use.

"Now we reverse that," Henry said. "We sell water to people south of town, but we can very easily lay another pipeline down to continue to sell to people south of us. It will reverse the flow in our major pipeline to bring water up."

He said both the well water and surface water from Tom Steed will create better quality of water for residents.

"The water that we have has too much organic matter dissolved in it," Henry said. "So, that type of water does not work well with our plant. We're actually treating it a little bit before putting it in the clarifier. We're doing some treatment before we put it into the plant. When you blend it, you've already started the process of what we're doing now with the clarifier."

His only concern would be finding the money to do this. He said it's important the city does find it.

"We have some economic activity happening now finally," Henry said. "We can bring some jobs to town. It's very positive. We have momentum on our side, the last thing I want to do is tell these people ‘Oh, by the way, we don't have any water for you."

Councilman Henry said right now, he's looking at funding from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, but that's just one option. He was not able to offer an estimate of how much that pipeline project might cost.

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