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Of the five water improvement options Scott Vaughn presented to the Duncan City Council two weeks ago, the option he feels will best serve Duncan is the installation of a larger pipeline to Lake Fuqua.
Vaughn, the city Public Works director, said Lake Fuqua is the largest of Duncan’s lake, containing the largest water volume of the four Duncan lakes. He said the lake also has the best clarity of the Duncan lakes and Waurika Lake, Duncan’s primary water source.
“We’re limited on how much we can pump from that lake because of the size of the pipeline,” Vaughn said.
He said the larger pipeline would mostly likely yield the best long-term solution to Duncan’s current water situation. Waurika Lake has continued to descend in water volume, heading closer to 40 percent of the lake’s capacity.
Duncan has been in Stage 3 water rationing since September 2013, which has reduced outdoor watering to midnight to 9 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. If Waurika Lake drops to 40 percent, Stage 4 water rationing could go into effect, which would prohibit outdoor watering altogether.
Vaughn said the Lake Fuqua pipeline would give Duncan the best options as far as strengthening Duncan’s water source. But it would also be the most costly of the five options, totaling more than $13 million.
Other options Vaughn favored for Duncan’s long-term water solution were installing pipelines and portable pumps at Clear Creek Lake and Duncan Lake, and pumping water from Waurika Lake to fill Lake Humphreys.
Installing pipelines and pumps at Duncan and Clear Creek lakes would allow the city to use those lakes as water sources, in addition to continuing to use Waurika Lake as primary and Fuqua and Humphreys lakes as secondary sources. This option is estimated to cost about $2 million.
“We could use all five lakes and lessen the burden on each lake,” Vaughn said.
To use Waurika Lake to refill Lake Humphreys would maintain the water source in Duncan. Vaughn said this is an option Walters and Lawton (two cities that use Waurika as a primary water source) have explored and are implementing.
He said using Waurika to refill Humphreys wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. And it would be the least costly of the options, costing about $600,000.
The two remaining options involve Duncan drilling wells. The first option would have the wells refilling Lake Humphreys by using existing drainage paths. The second option would focus on installing pipelines to use the well water as Duncan’s primary water source.
These options would have a cost of about $3.75 million (not including land or operational costs) and more than $11 million, respectively.
“Any of our options that allow us to use any of our existing lakes is a good long-term solution,” Vaughn said. “Surface water is the best way to go. That’s why we build lakes. Wells are not a viable, long-term solution. We stopped using wells years, decades ago. We had wells up to the ’50s and ’60s.”