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April 24, 2019

NEWS: Inhofe Announces Bartlesville Will Have Certainty in Water Storage Costs

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced today that because of a provision he authored in America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has confirmed Bartlesville will be able to purchase water from Copan Lake at a reasonable cost. In 2016, Bartlesville, learned that a new contract would mean purchasing additional water from the Corps could cost over $100 million over 10 years.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently quoted Bartlesville nearly $2,000 per acre-foot for a water storage contract—an unacceptable increase that would make purchasing water financially impossible without burdening ratepayers,” Inhofe said. “The implementation of my provision in the water infrastructure bill today will guarantee stable water storage prices for the City of Bartlesville at just over $70 per acre-foot, allowing the community to support further growth and economic development.”

"On behalf of the City of Bartlesville and those neighbors we supply with water, I would like to thank Sen. Inhofe for his tremendous work and leadership in ensuring that needed and affordable water supply for Bartlesville and its surrounding communities is now soon to be a reality,” Mayor Dale Copeland said. “Through his successfully securing the necessary language in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 and his work with the leadership of the Army Corps of Engineers to make certain the language was correctly implemented, his outstanding work on this vital issue cannot be overstated. The 50,000 people in the region who depend on access to reliable water storage in order to keep up with regional growth and to foster economic development owe Sen. Inhofe their sincere thanks."

“Those of us who worked on this issue, along with all Bartlesville water customers, owe Senator Inhofe a deep debt of gratitude for securing affordable additional water supply,” State Senator Julie Daniels said.  Senator Inhofe has labored over a decade on this issue. We could not have been successful but for his willingness to help and his vast expertise.”


  • For at least a decade, Bartlesville has worked to find stable water supply to support regional growth.
  • In 2016, Bartlesville learned purchasing additional water supply from Copan Lake could cost over $100 million over 10 years based on the current pricing structure for purchasing water from the U.S. Army Corps lakes. 
  • January 17, 2018 – Inhofe questioned Lt. General Todd Semonite, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about Bartlesville water storage costs.  
  • May 8, 2018 – Inhofe, Barrasso, Carper and Cardin introduced America’s Water Infrastructure Act, which included the Bartlesville provision authored by Sen. Inhofe.
  • May 22, 2018America’s Water Infrastructure Act unanimously passed the EPW committee
  • October 10, 2018 – Senate passed America’s Water Infrastructure Act
  • October 23, 2018 – President Trump signed America’s Water Infrastructure Act into law.
  • April 19, 2019 – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued implementation guidance for America’s Water Infrastructure Act. The guidance states that the District Commander should identify the most recent contract entered into by the local government and any new contracts cannot exceed 110 percent of the previous contract. The Tulsa District has determined that the most recent prior contract of the City of Bartlesville in the Verdigris River Basin was entered into in 1982 for water supply storage at Hulah Lake, for a price of $67.38 per acre-foot of storage. Applying the not to exceed 110 percent factor, yields a rate of $74.12 per acre-foot.

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