People in Oklahoma understand water has become a priority issue among the many communities, counties, regions and tribes of our state.
Oklahomans agree water is precious. However, how to capture water, distribute it, pay for it and serve the common good are all under debate.
For Ada and the surrounding area, a picture of our water future is fast taking shape. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board has recently recommended water rights over the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer, which serves Ada and the region, be heavily restricted. Currently, Oklahoma landowners, including the city of Ada, have the right to access annually two acre-feet of water for every one acre of land. An acre-foot of water is equal to 326,000 gallons.
The OWRB has recommended those water rights be reduced by 90 percent. In the future, landowners will be able to access only two-tenths (0.2) of water per acre.
Ada has been blessed over the years. Our city rests very near the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer. Water actually bubbles to the surface at Byrd’s Mill near Fittstown. Ada owns water rights to service the community’s needs and pumps water through pipes to the city.
For a number of years, Ada leaders have discussed how we would face our water future. It has been clear for many years that the water ownership landscape would change.
As part of city planning, a project known as Scissortail Lake has been included in our community’s long-range plan. Scissortail would be located just west of Ada and would encompass a surface area of about 4,700 acres. The lake would be created by flow from Spring Brook Creek and Canadian Little Sandy Creek. The lake would be large enough for recreation, including boating, fishing and swimming. More importantly, Scissortail would provide 29 million gallons of water daily for Ada. The city currently uses about 10 million gallons daily.