Tulsa's efforts to secure its water supply have left some Mayes County landowners angry. The city is building fences around portions of the flow lines that bring water from Lake Spavinaw to Tulsa. The city says it is simply trying to protect our drinking water, while residents say theyâ€™re simply trying to protect their land. The News On 6â€™s Chris Wright reports, property owners say the fences threaten their livelihood.
Tara Basford's horses still have room to run, but that luxury may not last long. A flow line from Spavinaw Lake runs under the Basford property, and the City of Tulsa will soon build a fence around it.
"It's going to cut off the horses from the barn, which has got their food and their water," said Spavinaw resident Tara Basford.
The city of Tulsa has gotten its water from Spavinaw for over 80 years, and has owned the land the flow lines travel through since the 1920s. Officials say they are vital to the water supply, and Tulsa has the right to build the fences to protect them. Residents say things have gone well over the decades, and there haven't been many problems, so why put up this fence now?
"We are devastated," Kim Oswald, Spavinaw resident said.
Kim Oswald has lived in Spavinaw all of her life. She inherited her land from her parents and says the fences will land lock much of it, meaning her cattle will have no access to water. Kim also believes her property value will plummet, and everything her family has built will be gone.
"They worked hard to leave this place to me, and the property is going to be worthless," said Oswald.
The city says it has been fencing other parts of the flow lines for years now, but for these residents, to whom land is valued above everything else, being fenced in doesn't sit well.
"This is our livelihoods, our parents worked for years to buy land. We don't live in big homes, we buy land here," Oswald said.
Officials tells The News on 6 that Tulsa has always had gentlemen's agreements with landowners along the flow lines, but unfortunately, some have built barns and homes directly on top of them. And while they may not have many legal options, the Spavinaw residents plan on continuing to fight the fence construction.
Watch the video: Fencing Plan Upsets Some Mayes County Residents
WEB EXTRA: Extended SKYNEWS 6 Aerials Of Lake Spavinaw