Konawa water crises continues to worsen after spring storms

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KONAWA, Okla. – A small town’s big water problems have been worsening lately after flooding caused more damage to an aging system in Konawa.

People who live there say they’ve struggled with water issues for years. Resident Tammy Goforth has only lived there a short time and the water issues are already at the forefront of her mind.

“It’s been crazy,” Goforth said. “It’s frustrating because you never know when you can wash your clothes, take a bath, or any of it.”

Over the past few weeks, the problems have gone from bad to worse because of the spring storms. The town was forced to go nearly an entire day without water.

“It`s been kind of hard, you know,” Jeremiah Roberts said. “I’ve got kids, I’ve got a daughter. It being cut on and off back and forth, me and my family have been having to go to Ada to get rooms just for working water, showers, all the stuff that we need to do at home that we can`t right now.”

Konawa public works director James Rogers said the problems lie mainly with the town’s old pipes.

“It’s very difficult for small towns like us to get the money needed to replace these lines,” Rogers said. “They’re 40, 50 plus years old.”

But with this year’s storms, he said the water control centers that run the water were damaged, and that when the saturated grounds dried up, the old pipes cracked in several places creating serious leaks.

‘We’ve just lost water over a matter of time so we’re just now starting to catch back up,” he said. Several people rallied to help the town find the cracks in the pipes Wednesday morning, and residents have had water for most of the day. However, the city is still on a boil order until further notice (Rogers said it will hopefully be lifted next week.)

The city is currently working on two projects that will result in getting an old water tower up and running. When it’s complete, it should be able to provide about four days’ worth of water if there’s an issue. It will become the town’s main water source with the current water system as a supplement.

In the meantime, water has been donated by groups like OG&E and Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and residents who need to can shower in the local high school’s field house.

But frustrations and temperatures are rising as those living there wait for a fix.

“Hopefully things will turn around,” Roberts said, “hopefully soon.”

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