Severe drought in northeast Oklahoma and southeast Kansas is the driving force behind water restrictions put in place by the City of Bartlesville earlier this year.
At last night's Bartlesville City Council meeting, Water Utilities Director Terry Lauritsen says lack of rain in southeast Kansas is the primary cause for declining levels at Hulah and Copan lakes, which are the primary sources of water supply for Bartlesville and the surrounding area. Lauritsen says the area of southeast Kansas that is the watershed for Hulah and Copan has been in an exceptional drought for the past 6-8 months.
Barring significant rainfall in southeast Kansas that would replenish declining lake levels at the city's primary water sources, Lauritsen says other measures will be necessary to get the area through what is expected to be a two-year drought.
City Manager Mike Bailey says a few options being discussed include accessing an aquifer located in Osage County, potential water rights at other Oklahoma lakes and/or working with other municipalities with water rights at those lakes, as well as purchasing potable water from other sources. He says the least expensive options range between $20 million and $40 million, with the more expensive coming in "north of $300 million."
A Water Resource Committee will also be formed to study the best option for the city.