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Top 3 Reasons Kaw Lake Pipeline is the Best Option

Post Date:02/08/2019 4:00 PM


Top 3 Reasons Kaw Lake Pipeline is the Best Option to Meet Enid’s Growing Water Needs

1 Time   We are up against a clock.  With well levels in Enid diminishing, we will have water shortages without additional sources.  Some options (building a lake in Enid) would require between 10-15 years to build with further wait time for it to fill. The Kaw Lake Water Supply Program will be complete by 2023.

2 Cost   The City of Enid examined land acquisition, construction, maintenance and operations costs for every option.  The Kaw Lake Water Supply Program will total $315M; a less costly alternative than building a reservoir in Enid.

3 Reliability  Kaw Lake is continuously full because it’s in an area of high rainfall.  Enid will only use nine percent of the “unallocated” or excess supply of that lake. Other options, expanding the well fields or building a lake near Enid, couldn’t consistently deliver the amount of water we need.


Background “The Need”

Currently, Enid depends on 116 wells in five well fields for its entire water supply.  Well levels have diminished by more than half in less than 20 years and it’s projected that we’ll have water shortages in the future without a new source of water.

Background “Water Studies and Options”

The City of Enid created a master water plan in 2009 and a surface water and ground water study in 2010 to identify all reasonable options for securing additional water.  In 2014, the City compiled the data into a comparison of all viable options.  During that time, the City also requested additional water rights in Major and Alfalfa counties, but landowners were not willing to sell their water rights to us at this time.

Pros and Cons of the Top Option

  1. Build a Lake In/Near Enid.  Construction of a lake takes approximately 10 years to get permitted, perform engineering studies and acquire land and five to seven years to construct.  The lake and equipment would require approximately 7,000 acres that we would have to acquire from private landowners, in some cases, a home and operating farm or ranch held for generations.  Once the lake is built, we would have to wait for it to fill.  With approximately 36 inches of rainfall a year and Enid’s high evaporation rate, that would take years. The total of 15-20 years for a full lake would require Enid to expand the well field while we wait. Additionally, a lake built near Enid would have to have a reverse osmosis plant to remove the high concentrations of total dissolved solids present from the proximity to oil and gas and ranching operations.  Reverse osmosis plants are expensive to build and operate and would generate about 25 percent of the water as unusable (where the salt and minerals are removed from 75 percent and concentrated in unusable water) that would have to be injected somewhere.

  2. Expand existing well field.  New well locations and new well fields would require significant expansion and renovation of the City’s well field collection system to bring needed amounts of water into the City’s system. To reach the projected demand of 18.4 MGD, 115 new wells would have been required. It would also require acquisition of additional water rights. Continuing to supply water from well fields only was the least expensive of the three options. However, some competing groundwater demands (primarily agricultural and energy) are present in the areas of probable field expansion.  This increased stress on the aquifer could jeopardize the water supply for a large area. 

  3. Connect to other water pipelines.  The nearest water pipeline is across I-35 and connects the City of Stillwater to Kaw Lake.  This pipeline just wouldn’t give the capacity to meet our projected future demands.

  4. Connect to an existing Lake or Reservoir.  The City examined a number of surface water options.  Kaw Lake had the capacity needed – the lake maintains high water levels, even during drought because it’s in an area of high rainfall. Kaw Lake has remained at 100 percent levels for the past five years and at 95 percent or higher for decades. The Kaw Lake option would require an intake structure, 70-mile pipeline, pumping station and water treatment plant.  The City would also need to enter into a storage contract with the Army Corps of Engineers and obtain water rights from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.



Bill Shewey, Mayor
Ron Janzen, Ward 1
Derwin Norwood, Ward 2
Ben Ezzell, Ward 3
Jonathan Waddell, Ward 4
Tammy Wilson, Ward 5
George Pankonin, Ward 6

 Jerald Gilbert, City Manager

Steve Kime, Media Contact
(580) 616-7258

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