The city of Cordell is in a dire water emergency.
What does that exactly mean?
We went straight to the source and asked Cordell City Administrator JC Moser how residents can help, and what exactly prompted this emergency.
Q: What can residents do to help conserve water?
A: For a few hours do not let water drip or run from your faucets. Do not flush the toilets every time they are used. Do not wash dishes or clothes.
Q: How close is the city to running out of water? And what would that look like?
A: The city water tower level was less than 10% full, which meant around 40,000 gallons left. We were able to turn the Foss MCD pump back on about 1 p.m., and that started filling the tower again. As long as people use the water it will not fill as fast.
If we run completely out of water, people will not have any water at their faucets or toilets when they open the tap or attempt to flush the stool. We will not have any water if the firemen need to open a fire hydrant to fight a fire. Even at these critical levels that we are at now, the firefighters will quickly run out of water if a fire were to start. Our main concern is fire protection. We need to conserve water so we can get the tank full for fire protection.
Q: What forced these circumstances?
A: The extended frigid weather caused lines in our wellfield to freeze and not allow the water to pass through from the wells to the holding tank at our filter house. So, we cannot use our well water to supplement the water we purchase from Foss MCD. The extended frigid weather has caused a valve on the Foss line to malfunction and had to be replaced. Foss MCD replaced this valve this morning so we could not pump any water from the treatment plant at Foss Lake. The last two days the frigid weather has caused three water main leaks to occur which allows a lot of water to leave our system in a small amount of time. We had approximately 50% of our storage capacity full this morning when Foss MCD instructed us to quit pumping. During this time, we could not pump into the system our supply went from 50% full to 10% full. These extended weather conditions have caused havoc with water systems all across Oklahoma this past month.
Q: How long will we be in this dire water emergency?
A: With the temperature rising, the need to drip water faucets should be non-existent. By stopping the flow of water from our water system, the tank levels should rise to normal levels soon. We are working to see why our water well water isn’t making it to the tank as well. If we keep using the water at the rate we are using it, we will not get back to normal possibly through the weekend. If anyone sees water bubbling out of the street or yard please let us know so we can see if we have a leak in our system. Fixing these leaks will help keep the water in the pipes and tanks.