Waurika Lake

Last updated
Waurika Lake
Location Jefferson County, Oklahoma
Coordinates 34°16′55″N98°04′40″W / 34.28194°N 98.07778°W / 34.28194; -98.07778 Coordinates: 34°16′55″N98°04′40″W / 34.28194°N 98.07778°W / 34.28194; -98.07778
Type Reservoir
Primary inflows Beaver Creek, Oklahoma
Primary outflows Beaver Creek, Oklahoma
Catchment area 562 sq mi (1,460 km2)
Managing agency U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Built 1963
First flooded 1980
Max. length 11 mi (18 km)
Surface area 10,000 acres (4,000 ha)
Water volume 192,000 acre⋅ft (0.237 km3)
Shore length1 80 mi (130 km)
Surface elevation 951 ft (290 m)
Settlements Waurika, Oklahoma
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Waurika Lake is a reservoir in southwestern Oklahoma, near Waurika. It is primarily in Jefferson County, but small parts of it are in Stephens County and Cotton County, Oklahoma. [1] Its primary purposes are to provide flood control, irrigation, water supply, water quality, fish and wildlife, recreation, and other conservation needs of the public. The lake supplies water for the cities of Lawton, Duncan, Comanche, Temple, and Waurika. [2] The wildlife management area comprises about 6,040 acres (24.4 km2). [3]

Reservoir A storage space for fluids

A reservoir is, most commonly, an enlarged natural or artificial lake, pond or impoundment created using a dam or lock to store water.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

Waurika, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Waurika is the county seat of Jefferson County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,064 at the 2010 census, a 4.36 percent decrease from 2,158 at the 2000 census.

Contents

Continued operation of the lake water pumping system is being jeopardized by a buildup of silt near the water intake. The extremely hot summers of 2011-2013 have caused excessive evaporation of lake water and unusually high consumption by communities that use the water. Water officials estimated that pumping may have had to cease in April 2015, unless corrective actions could be taken soon, [4] although an extremely rainy storm season in May of that year raised the lake levels to 90.36% capacity.[ citation needed ]

Silt is granular material of a size between sand and clay, whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as sediment mixed in suspension with water and soil in a body of water such as a river. It may also exist as soil deposited at the bottom of a water body, like mudflows from landslides. Silt has a moderate specific area with a typically non-sticky, plastic feel. Silt usually has a floury feel when dry, and a slippery feel when wet. Silt can be visually observed with a hand lens, exhibiting a sparkly appearance. It also can be felt by the tongue as granular when placed on the front teeth.

Description

Waurika Dam is on Beaver Creek, a tributary of the Red River, about 6 miles (9.7 km) northwest of Waurika. The lake drainage area is 562 square miles (1,460 km2). [5]

Red River of the South major tributary of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers in the southern United States

The Red River, or sometimes the Red River of the South, is a major river in the southern United States of America. It was named for the red-bed country of its watershed. It is one of several rivers with that name. Although it was once a tributary of the Mississippi River, the Red River is now a tributary of the Atchafalaya River, a distributary of the Mississippi that flows separately into the Gulf of Mexico. It is connected to the Mississippi River by the Old River Control Structure.

Construction of Waurika Dam began in 1963, with completion of the project occurring in 1980. The lake is 11 miles (18 km) long and contains 192,000 acre feet of water at its normal elevation, 951 feet (290 m). The surface covers about 10,000 acres (40 km2) and has 80 miles (130 km) of shoreline. [1]

Environmental issues

Prolonged drought in southwestern Oklahoma during 2011 12 has caused serious harm to the lake. Water conservation steps, including severe restrictions on lawn watering and higher customer fees, have been implemented by the cities who consume the lake water. Evaporation losses have been high, and there are concerns about the increased rate of silting. Drought conditions are also conducive to the formation of harmful algae.

2011 Algae bloom

During August 2011, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality found high concentrations of blue-green algae in lake water samples and banned human contact with untreated lake water. This algae contains toxins that are very hazardous to humans. In response, the Corps of Engineers shut down the two swimming beaches there. [2] By late December algae concentrations had dropped sufficiently to lift the ban, although the agencies were still discouraging water contact. [6]

Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is a department of the government of Oklahoma under the Governor of Oklahoma. It is responsible for protecting human health and for safeguarding the natural environment: air, water, and land. DEQ is chiefly responsible for the environmental policy of Oklahoma. It is governed by a thirteen member Environmental Quality Board appointed by the Governor, which in turn appoints an Executive Director to administer the Department.

2013 Silt accumulation

In June 2013, an Oklahoma Water Resources Board study disclosed that a build-up of clay and dirt had accumulated close to the water pump intake. This was the result of high evaporation rates and high water consumption. The lake received about 4 inches (10 cm) of rain in April 2013, but that would only extend the life of the lake about one week. [4]

Water officials have called for mandatory 10 percent reductions in the supply to users as one way to extend the life of the system. Dredging the sediment is also being considered. Removing the accumulated material is expected to cost between $2.5 and $6 million. The dredging project could begin in 2014, but funding must be found first. [4]

Officials also pointed out that the current low levels of lake water present additional safety hazards for lake users. Low levels are exposing old trees, bridge piers and other obstacles. The water has low visibility and there are a lot of dropoffs in the bottom. [4]

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