Bartlesville moves to increase water supply if drought continues
BY LAURA SUMMERS World Correspondent
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
BARTLESVILLE — The city of Bartlesville will be able to access additional water from Copan Lake for drought relief this year if the supplies in Hulah Lake should dwindle to a dangerous level.
The Bartlesville City Council on Monday unanimously approved a contract with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that allows the community to withdraw additional water to supply area needs while still preserving the water quality in Hulah Lake for fish and wildlife.
Area rain and snowfall have recently improved water supply levels but not enough to overcome the drought the region has experienced over several months.
“We are still asking residents to conserve water, to be diligent,” said Terry Lauritsen, Bartlesville director of engineering and water utilities. “The citizens have been doing a good job, and we would just encourage them to keep doing that.”
The temporary water storage contract, negotiated with the Corps of Engineers, would allow Bartlesville to obtain from Copan Lake an additional 2,500 acre feet of water — or 814,628,567 gallons for a price of $5,625. The contract will only be put into play if Hulah Lake should drop to having available only 15-20 percent of its water supply pool.
Bartlesville Mayor Tom Gorman said he personally is not comfortable letting the supply pool in Hulah drop below 20 percent — which is the level it reached during the city’s 2002 drought before heavy rains brought it back up. Gorman applauded the contract forged with the Corps as important for Bartlesville.
“This is an enormous, efficient safety net for Bartlesville in our water supply,” Gorman said.
Hulah Lake has just over 50 percent of its water supply available now — an improvement over the 38 percent level that was in the pool before recent wet weather brought relief. In other Bartlesville water supply sources — Hudson Lake has 80 percent of its supply available, and Copan Lake has 84 percent of its supply available.
But Lauritsen said the additional water supply in the Corps contract is likely to be needed in spring and summer months as demand increases.