OKLAHOMA CITY –The City of Oklahoma City (City) received approval for $35,000,000 in funding Tuesday from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) to improve its water infrastructure. Construction of upgrades and improvements to the water system will be financed by the Oklahoma American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant program along with $18,400,000 in local matching funds.
The City has designated this as the Tinker Air Force Base Project. A 60” water main which serves approximately 400,000 residents, currently runs parallel to Douglas Boulevard from Oklahoma City’s Lake Draper to north Oklahoma City. In 2022, The Oklahoma City Council agreed to the closure of two miles of the road for increased security for Tinker Air Force Base. Due to the road closure, two miles of the water main will be located inside of the air force base and in the event of a break, security levels at the base would delay emergency response time. Immediate response to a failure of the pipeline is essential as there is no back up water service or separate feed to provide water to an area which includes the Veteran’s Administration Hospital and the OU Medical Campus. The proceeds of this grant will be utilized to relocate four (4) miles of 60” water transmission main, valving, connecting to the existing line, testing, and disinfection outside of the Tinker Air Force Base secured area.
Joe Freeman, chief of the OWRB’s Financial Assistance Division, calculated that the City’s customers will save an estimated $48,530,500 compared to traditional financing. Representing the City was Assistant Finance Director, Angela Pierce, who stated, “On behalf of leadership, Council, and the people of Oklahoma City, we appreciate this one-time opportunity. Oklahoma City is performing studies in efficiency to help surrounding neighborhoods through the use of these dollars.”