Released On: May 16, 2012
"Strong partnerships are crucial to creating a sustainable water and energy supply," said Secretary Salazar. "The WaterSMART program is designed to foster local partnerships and support innovative solutions to the water challenges of the future. This funding will not only help ensure a stable water supply for businesses and local residents but also create jobs, enhance the environment and strengthen local economies."
The Upper Washita River Basin is comprised of over 5,000 square miles of drainage area in west central Oklahoma. It includes the Rush Springs aquifer, a critical agricultural supply source that supplies many springs and streams and provides unique environmental, recreational, and cultural values to the area. The Bureau of Reclamation’s Washita Basin Project, comprised of both Foss and Fort Cobb reservoirs, provides 90 percent of the surface water supplies in the study area, including municipal water to 40,000 people and two power generation facilities. Both reservoirs are currently experiencing challenges due to aging, inefficient, and/or undersized infrastructure.
According to the recently completed 2012 Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan, demands are projected to increase substantively by 2060 for all uses in the study area. Under current permitting procedures, some depletion of the Rush Springs aquifer is forecast throughout much of the study area by 2020. These depletions may reduce flows of Cobb Creek, which contributes to Fort Cobb reservoir's firm yield, and therefore could threaten the reliability of Fort Cobb reservoir as a supply source.
This study will build upon recent investigations into the water supply reliability of Fort Cobb reservoir, which show that the reservoir may provide enough water to meet the long-term needs of the area, including cities like Anadarko and Chickasha, but that the reservoir's reliability is dependent upon risk factors associated with climate variability, depletions in the Rush Springs aquifer, and future demands projections. Preliminary results can be viewed within the draft report titled, Fort Cobb Reservoir Supply/Demand Study available at: http://www.usbr.gov/gp/otao/
The study will (1) augment an ongoing hydrologic investigation of the Rush Springs aquifer to accurately determine the amount of groundwater available for future appropriation; (2) develop a surface water allocation model to evaluate various management options, including protecting the future water supply capabilities of Foss and Fort Cobb reservoirs; and (3) evaluate alternatives to address infrastructure issues facing the study area, both now and into the future.
The study will be carried out through a partnership among the Bureau of Reclamation, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, and the Foss and Fort Cobb Reservoir Master Conservancy Districts. The study will cost an estimated $700,000 and take two years to complete. The additional $450,000 will come from matching contributions by local partners and from the OWRB's Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan.
DOI | Recreation.gov | USA.gov
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