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Feb 26

Doubled the Water Rights & More Than Twice the Time

Posted on February 26, 2019 at 8:24 AM by Clara Siegele

The Purcell City Council/Public Works Authority Board negotiated agreements with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for a precious resource for life. No matter where you are, and especially in Oklahoma infamous for the dust bowl and recently a five year drought, water is critical. Purcell is recognized for good tasting water, pumped from the Garber-Wellington Aquifer. At only the peak of the last drought did the City suggest citizens voluntarily ration their water.

It is a surprise to most that the Water Department for the City of Purcell not only owns and manages the system within the City limits, but does the same for 100 square miles around it, mostly to the west. And, they care for a well field of 14 sites that are seven miles from the City limits. The well field is in Cleveland County inside the Lexington Wildlife Refuge.

In 2017 and agreement between the City and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation increased the surface acres that the Public Works Authority has exclusive rights for water wells. The agreement increased it from 2,240 acres surface acres to to 5,440, with acre feet of water rights underneath it corresponding.

2018 the City and Wildlife continued negotiations and the 20 year agreement was extended another 25 years to 45. This bounty of water now is assured to 2063. This is the longest agreement for water rights granted to a City from the State of Oklahoma.

In 2018 a new water well will be added, bringing the total to 15. New wells are planned to be drilled every two to three years to accommodate growth. Some of the other improvements to the public drinking water infrastructure are provided.