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August 29, 2013

Fracking won't affect city's water supply

CHICKASHA —

Hydraulic fracturing combined with mass draught has spelled disaster for many communities across the southwest, but Chickasha will not be among them. 

Drawing its drinking water from Ft. Cobb Lake, City Manager Stuart Fairburn said the city should have no problem keeping up with its citizens drinking and bathing needs. 

However, farmers in the Chickasha area have faced some problems. 

"Farmers stock ponds have dried up from time-to-time," said Fairburn. "That's big source of water for energy companies." 

To combat this issue, Fairburn said the city has looked at selling these companies water runoff from the water treatment pant.  

"We are working to get permission to use our liquid waste water," Fairburn said. "There are lot of rules when it comes to reusing water and we need to make sure we have everything in line before we do." 

Should efforts to draw excess water from the water treatment plant dry up, Fairburn said the city can still rely on Lake Chickasha.

Fairburn said the city could sell water from the lake to fracking energy companies. 

"If we can sell the water from the lake we have to plan when we've used it enough," Fairburn said. "We have to know when to say no, as we balance the needs of our oil customers and those who use the lake for recreation." 

Moving the water to specific drilling locations is another challenge Fairburn is trying to topple. 

Recently the city leased $3 million worth of land around Lake Chickasha for energy exploration. 

Should oil or natural gas be found in these leases, the lake would serve as a prime water source for drillers. However, rigs at other locations in the city may not be so lucky. 

"That's one of the major concerns we still have," said Fairburn. "We need to find the best way to transfer water to drilling sites that aren't located near the lake. That will require new piping." 

As far as stock water on farms goes, selling those resources are decisions left to the farmers.

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