Court decision protects vital Texoma aquifer - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Court decision protects vital Texoma aquifer

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ARDMORE, Okla. -- From Ardmore to Tishomingo to Durant, water running through your pipes most likely comes from a large underground aquifer that feeds a number of streams.

The Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer has been in jeopardy for the last 15 years until a court decision on Tuesday.

Some ranchers in central Oklahoma have been hoping to pipe in water from hundreds of miles away. But some say that would have dried up local creeks in no time.

Pennington Creek in Tishomingo, Turner Falls in Davis, Birds Mill in Ada, and Blue River in Durant are just a few examples of streams that are fed from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer. Those same streams provide thousands of Texomans with drinking water.

"It's made of limestone, which is a porous rock, which filters water that rains through the porous rock and cleans it and makes the best water there is,"  said Shannon Shirley, who owns land near Ada and who also speaks on behalf of the Citizens for the Protection of the Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer.

For the last 15 years, private land owners around Oklahoma City have been wanting to pipe water from the aquifer hundreds of miles north for residential use.

Aquifer protection advocates worked to pass Senate Bill 288, which requires testing water levels before any of it is conveyed via pipeline.

Following the Arbuckle-Simpson testing, advocates said the results would have been detrimental to the area.

"We'd have been dry; streams would have been dry in a year," Shirley said.

After 15 years of efforts, the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals affirmed the Oklahoma Water Resources Board final order to preserve the aquifer.

The Arbuckle-Simpson is the only aquifer in the state that is protected from water rights owners.

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