Ada is not alone in this scenario. Many communities across the state are working to come up with options for future water supplies. Ada’s advantage is that it has an excellent location for a lake. Communities along the large Oklahoma City-owned water line running from southeast Oklahoma to Oklahoma City could tap into that line for water. However, the price of the tap and the actual water has those communities looking elsewhere. Additionally, the federal lawsuit filed by the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations – who have historic claims to this area’s natural resources – likely will curtail Oklahoma City’s ability to transfer water from the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations.
The tribes have substantial protected and historic rights to the natural resources of southeastern Oklahoma. Developing a mutually beneficial partnership with the Chickasaw Nation would be a requirement of any water development in our area. Our tribe has a long history of dedication to the common good of all people in our area.
We believe Scissortail Lake has merit. The lake would be expensive. However, we can quantify that cost. The lake would guarantee a visible water supply for Ada, ensure plenty of water access, and provide an exceptional recreation area for our community. There is also the potential to recoup costs through sales of water to other communities.
Our current Ada mayor is absolutely opposed to the Scissortail Lake option. The mayor’s comments and actions leave no doubt that he will propose to purchase huge amounts of additional property over the aquifer to try to “catch up” with the draconian reductions in water rights mandated by the OWRB. There can be no estimate of cost for such a project. We cannot know how much the land will cost, or how many wells would have to be drilled. Without those baseline figures, we cannot calculate the cost of property, wells, associated infrastructure and maintenance. We believe the mayor’s plan is a “blind bet” with no limit on the amount that could be expended.