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Duncan hires firm to help with drought battle

DUNCAN, Okla._An in-depth study about the water crisis is officially underway as the Duncan Water Advisory Committee elects an engineering firm to help combat the drought.

As the city of Duncan continues to battle the ongoing drought, it hopes to nip dry conditions in the bud by aiming for the source.

"They're trying to determine the best way that we can solve that problem by finding water quickly and not having the same thing occur way down the road when there's another drought," said Phil Leonard, Duncan Water Advisory Committee chairman.

That's where professional engineering consultants comes into play. The Oklahoma City firm was hired by the water advisory committee Thursday night to conduct a $70,000, 120-day full study on not only on the availability of groundwater below, but what's already on the surface.

"They're taking a fresh look to see how much water we have in our lakes, what's the capacity of Humphreys, Clear Creek, Fuqua and Duncan lakes. How much water is there and if we had to switch and tap those lakes if we couldn't pull from Waurika anymore, how long would that last us," said Jacob Bachelor, Duncan Water Advisory Committee member.

The new contract comes at almost an ironic time as Southwest Oklahoma is the midst of one of its rainiest seasons in four years. But the water committee says don't be fooled. Moving forward with the study isn't just smart, it's still very much necessary.

"I think it would be a little shortsighted and naive to think that a month of rainy weather creating bulging creeks can replace the water that was lost that we never received over a 4-5 year period," said Bachelor.

Now that PEC is getting started, the role of the Duncan Water Advisory Committee isn't over just yet.

"We've got a right to ask them questions and keep track of it, so they're keep us going the period of time it takes to complete their report," said Leonard.

Once completed by fall, Duncan should have a better idea of how to win the battle against drought once and for all.

"When the next drought occurs, because it is reciprocal, we will have another drought it's just a matter of when, we'll be better prepared and we will have more options to keep business here, to attract business here without a water shortage," said Bachelor.

The engineering firm signed its 120-day contract with the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation Friday morning. They plan on beginning research in the next ten days.

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