- Associated Press - Monday, September 29, 2014

CHICKASHA, Okla. (AP) - Crews spent much of the summer repairing aging Chickasha water pipelines that broke because of drought damage, the city’s manager said.

Many of the water lines installed about 80 years ago have cracked because of dry, shifting soil, Chickasha city manager Stewart Fairburn told The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1sL05Zt).

None of the breaks have been serious enough to leave residents without water, but the problems have been frequent enough to keep crews busy.

“We’re certainly not the only ones,” Fairburn said. “It’s been one of those years.”

The water line breaks mean lost water at a time when the city is already in a drought. Fort Cobb Reservoir, where Chickasha gets its drinking water, was about 6.6 feet below normal levels last week, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Tulsa district office.

Nearly all of Grady County, including Chickasha, is experiencing severe drought conditions, and Chickasha has received just 5.3 inches of rain over the past 90 days.

Chickasha city officials recently completed a wastewater plan, in which they outlined $150 million in upgrades they hope to make to the city’s water infrastructure. Those projects will enable the city to be a step ahead of the problem by replacing old water lines rather than fixing breaks and leaks as they arise.

Fairburn said those projects are expected to be completed over 30 years. Crews will continue repairing water line breaks as they come up in the meantime.

Chickasha isn’t the only city that’s recently had problems with its water lines. In Oklahoma City, a water pipeline broke earlier this month, leaving some residents without water and forcing the Oklahoma City Community College to close its campus until water service was restored.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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