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Duncan explores alternative water sources

DUNCAN, Okla._The City of Duncan is hoping to fight back against drought with the help of voters next week.

If renewed, half of the money generated from the city's half-cent sales tax will be reserved for the search for more water. With less of a reliance on its main water source, Waurika Lake, Duncan hopes to introduce new water sources to relieve the dry conditions within the city.

Officials are predicting the half-cent sales tax to bring in around $2 million per year, for the next five years. $1 million of that money is exclusively designed to combat drought with Waurika Lake taking a drastic turn for the worse, Duncan wants to make sure it doesn't find itself in a bone dry situation in the future with nowhere to turn.

"Waurika Lake, right now, is at 40.5% of conservation pool. So it may be fairly imminent that the level would drop below forty percent," said Public Works Director, Scott Vaughn.

Waurika Lake supplies water to folks all over the region but now it is coming up short, so Duncan says it's moving on.

"If it gets to a certain point, we won't be able to use that lake at all," said Vaughn.

Alternative water may not be too far-fetched of an idea.

"We do have what engineers like to call a redundant water supply."

At least two options for Duncan's water supply relief include tapping into Lake Humphreys, a lake that's also no stranger to drought, but still widely unused. Those options include drilling wells and filling the lake with water transferred from Waurika.

"If we re-pump water into Lake Humphreys, at least we'd have that water available to us for the length of time we could use that water as opposed to at some point, we wouldn't be able to use Waurika Lake," explained Vaughn.

Alternative water isn't a cheap solution, but it's one that many feel is necessary.

"Having that additional inflow into the City of Duncan would allow us to spend some money on those things; otherwise we don't really have the money to use," said Vaughn.

There are some people in Duncan who are opposing the tax, saying that $2 million a year could be better spent  on schools, and less on what the other half of the tax is earmarked for, things like improving streets, generating electricity and economic development, just to name a few.

Voters will decide just that on April 1.

To see a list considered options, click here.

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