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
  • rf-poker-run-main.jpg Poker run

    Fundraiser was in the cards for local philanthropic group

    It was perfect weather, with temperatures in the high 80s Saturday, as boaters filled their vessels with friends for a fun afternoon on Lake Tenkiller. A crowd gathered at Cookson Bend Marina, and folks lined up to support a local charity event.
    As fundraisers go, the Beta Sigma Phi Mu Omega Poker Run last Saturday could be considered huge success, as nearly $9,000 was collected.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • bilbrey-anthony.jpg Man arrested for blackmailing woman for sex

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies put a man behind bars Monday night after he allegedly tried to blackmail a woman by threatening to post nude photos of her on the Internet if she did not meet him for sex.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peach_photo_2.jpg Peach crop lean, but fruit still available

    Summer is all about peaches in Porter – especially at Livesay Orchard.
    The Livesay Orchard is still busy a week after Porter’s annual peach festival. The orchard’s crop this year was cut in half from what had previously been expected, according to Kent Livesay, one of the owners of the orchard.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • jackson-jaymee.jpg Tot’s injuries prompt abuse charges for two local residents

    A Tahlequah couple was formally charged Tuesday with child neglect and child abuse after an 18-month-old girl was found with a number of injuries.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • proctor-micah.jpg Pair accused of threatening man

    Two men behind bars at the Cherokee County Detention Center are accused of wielding a knife and gun and assaulting a man at a trailer park on West Keetoowah Sunday afternoon.
    Tahlequah Officer Reed Felts spoke with Reinaldo Flores, who told officers he heard a knock on his door and went to answer it.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Reach Higher an innovative approach to college

    The “Reach Higher” degree completion program is helping many Oklahoma students go back to school without drastically changing their lives.
    “This program is designed for working adults,” said Tim McElroy, program coordinator at the NSU- Muskogee campus.

    July 30, 2014

  • City attorney, others questioned chamber use of tourism tax

    Letters written in 2006 by City Attorney Park Medearis to former city councilor and Tahlequah Area Tourism Council board member Jack Spears suggest money from a hotel-motel tax could be disbursed through an agent other than the Chamber of Commerce, without voter approval.

    July 30, 2014

  • Hulbert council discusses Internet service

    During a meeting Tuesday night, members of the Hulbert Town Council discussed the possibility of Lake Region Electric Cooperative’s extending its cable and Internet service.

    July 30, 2014

  • ts-marching-MAIN.jpg Marching in step

    Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band kicks off 2014 season with summer drills.

    The Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band has added 30-35 freshmen to its roster this year, and drills began for the newest members last Thursday.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • studie-roberta.jpg Woman accused of stealing cash, taking it to casino

    A 35-year-old Tahlequah woman is free on bond after she allegedly took $1,200 from a man who had been jailed for old warrants.
    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies said they spoke with Jason Jones last week after Jones was arrested by park rangers for the outstanding warrants. Jones said he came to Oklahoma to see family, and when he was arrested, he left his wallet and cash with one of his daughters.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo


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
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA