TAHLEQUAH, Okla.— The Cherokee Nation continues to work with the City of Oaks to help bring an end to the community’s water troubles.
“We have worked with this community for several years to provide stop-gap measures to ensure they have water,” said Chief Chad Smith. “We are proposing a plan that could be a long-term solution to improve the infrastructure if that is how the community wants to proceed.”
Cherokee Nation’s proposed plan, if implemented, would connect Oaks with the current self-help waterline project happening in the communities of Leach and Twin Oaks. The Cherokee Nation would also provide the engineering and construction of the waterline extension. The total cost of the proposal is approximately $262,000. A portion of the proposal has been requested from Indian Health Services. If funding is approved through IHS, the Cherokee Nation would provide $82,000. The Cherokee Nation has organized a meeting between Cherokee Nation, Oaks WaterWorks, Delaware County Rural Water District 11 and the Flint Ridge Water District to discuss the proposal.
This past week, a water pump failed on the largest well serving Oaks and Cherokee Nation advised the community as they restored water in the short-term. Also to ensure the people have water, the Cherokee Nation delivered 900 gallons of water to the community. Other organizations have also provided emergency water to this community.
“It is important for us to ensure that Cherokee families in this community haveaccess to clean, safe water,” said Smith. “We want to be a good community partner and part of that is ensuring the health of our communities.”
During the past five years, the Cherokee Nation has spent more than $18 million on water and sanitation projects throughout the Cherokee Nation. One example is a 66-mile waterline in Leach where the Cherokee Nation provides the materials and technical assistance while the community provides the labor. This waterline will bring clean, safe water from the Leach community through Twin Oaks and to southern parts of Kansas, Okla.