Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 10, 2012

Drought assistance now available

TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee County residents experienced a brief respite from drought conditions, as the first measurable rainfall swept through the area late Wednesday and early Thursday.

But the area remains under a severe drought warning. Some rural water users who depend on wells may find supplies running low, and cattle ranchers are looking for ways to irrigate their livestock as pond levels ebb ever lower.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board on Thursday announced grant funding has been made available for drought assistance. OWRB Executive Director J.D. Strong said his agency is receiving dozens of inquiries daily, either reporting drought-related water problems or requesting some type of technical or financial assistance.

“When it gets right down to it, no matter how dry our streamflow gauges and drought indices say it is, it’s the people on the ground – the citizens of Oklahoma and our water user community – who experience the true impact of drought,” said Strong in a press release.

The OWRB administers water rights in Oklahoma, monitors the quantity and quality of surface and groundwater, and provides financial assistance to address water infrastructure needs.

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Agriculture Educator Roger Williams said area cattle ranchers are having a hard time providing irrigation for livestock.

“It’s not at the critical point yet, but watering livestock is becoming a problem,” said Williams. “[Ranchers] are looking real hard at how to haul water to them. I haven’t heard many well complaints, but the pond levels are really getting lower, especially with all the wind we’ve had.”

Williams pointed rainfall in the county has been below average for 18 of the past 25 months.

“The only time we had plenty of rainfall was April 2011, and most of that didn’t going to the ground, it just caused problems,” said Williams. “We just haven’t had the solid rains to make the ground soggy.”

Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission Administrator Ed Fite is a member of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. He explained about the grant funding available through the agency.

“We have a funding process at OWRB, that when a drought has been declared through the governor’s  proclamation, the agency has a rule allowing up to $300,00 in grant funding to provide drought-related aid for rural water customers and municipalities,” said Fite. “For instance, during the last declared drought, Chimney Rock, in Osage County, was out of water. The OWRB  actually tapped that money and gave funds to water district to put a float pump in to Chimney Rock Lake.”

Fite said he didn’t know if the OWRB could provide individual relief to cattlemen or farmers, but that it does provide emergency aid grants to rural water districts and municipalities having trouble providing safe, potable water.

“That said, encourage folks to contact Brian Vance at the OWRB, to see what sort of individual assistance might be available,” said Fite. “They should be very specific about the problem they’re having, and see if the OWRB can’t address that.”

Strong said the OWRB receives frequent requests for help from water users experiencing reduced yields from wells.

“Those  individuals who don’t have access to a municipal or rural water system are particularly vulnerable to drought and dry periods,” he said. “We can investigate the problem and provide information to the landowner on obtaining the services of a license well driller who can deepen their well or, if needed, construct an entirely new well. Or course, we encourage individuals to tie on to public water supply systems wherever possible.”

Text Only
Local News
  • jn cvbc fire.jpg Church catches fire after burglaries

    Authorities are looking for the person accused of breaking into the Crescent Valley Baptist Church two times this week and likely causing a fire that damaged the youth building early Wednesday morning.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw Humane photo.tif More volunteers needed to house strays, help with spay-and-neuter

    Furry friends may seem like the perfect addition to round out a family.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marijuana, seeds lead to four arrests

    Four people were arrested on marijuana related charges early Wednesday morning after a traffic stop on South Muskogee Avenue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Sex offender found living in tent at river

    Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators arrested a convicted sex offender this week when they discovered he has been living in a tent along the river.

    July 24, 2014

  • ts-NSU-MAIN.jpg Fledgling RiverHawks arrive

    Over 200 incoming freshmen took part in orientation class at Northeastern State University

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-TCP-jump.jpg Tahlequah Community Playhouse revving up for new season

    Tahlequah Community Playhouse is kicking of its 41st season with a nod to friendship and aging.
    TCP finished auditions for its first play of the season, “The Dixie Swim Club,” on Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Infant mortality dropping in county

    When a mom-to-be is expecting a healthy, happy baby, every week of pregnancy is crucial.
    Short gestation, or premature births, is a leading cause of infant mortality. Any child born before reaching 37 weeks of gestation is considered premature.

    July 23, 2014

  • Board considers combining tourism, chamber positions

    Members of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the local Tourism Council are discussing the possibility of combining two jobs into one.
    Chamber President Steve Turner encouraged board members Tuesday morning to be prepared next month to decide how it will begin a search for a new executive director.

    July 23, 2014

  • New chamber board members nominated

    Three new board members will likely be installed during the regular August meeting of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce.

    July 23, 2014

  • ts-camp-cherokee-main.jpg Camp Cherokee

    About 500 area youth attending popular camp for tribal citizens.

    In reality, two camps are taking place at the Camp Heart ‘o the Hills: a day camp for children in first through sixth grades, and a residential camp for those in middle and high school.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman