Green Country Town's Low Water Supply Leads To State Of Emergency

Tuesday, June 10th 2014, 10:38 pm
By: Tess Maune

One Green Country town has declared a State of Emergency because of their water supply.

Pawnee's dwindling water supply has dropped so low, leaders are worried how their town will make it through the hottest, driest part of the summer.

In Pawnee, a quarter-million dollar solution was on the table tonight.

Pawnee has been trying to avoid the problem; the city has been under strict water rationing for several weeks. It's to the point now, where the town's only water source is so low, that city leaders feel their community's health and safety may be at risk.

"It's just frightening," said Pawnee Mayor, Brad Sewell.

As lake levels seem to only go down, Sewell said the cause for concern goes up.

"If we don't do something, I don't see us lasting the summer," he said.

Pawnee Lake is where the town gets its water, but the three-year drought is slowly drying it up.

The mayor said the lake relies on runoff water from ponds and creeks to fill it up, and while the recent rain has helped, it hasn't been enough.

"I just kind of cross my fingers and hope we get past this rough period," Sewell said.

Pawnee's City Council decided Tuesday the situation is so severe, it warrants a State of Emergency.

The council approved paying up to $270,000 to drill two new municipal water wells.

"The wells are not meant to replace the lake they're supposed to be a supplement to the lake," said Pawnee Mayor Brad Sewell. "We need our wells constructed yesterday."

One of the wells will be on Keith Cheathams's property, a former city councilor, who still wants to serve his city.

"It's about providing that water to the public, to the community," Cheathams said.

The mayor said he believes the city council will be able to work out a deal soon that will allow Pawnee to use the Arkansas River as a temporary water source during desperate times.

"Supplement our lake, do what Mother Nature hasn't been doing for us," Sewell said.

The construction company will likely start drilling the two wells in mid-June. The projects should be ready by the end of July or early August, the mayor said.