TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA— The Cherokee Nation completed a one-mile stretch of waterline in Nowata Friday that will bring more reliable and better quality of water to Cherokee families and other non-Cherokee residents living along 415 County Road.
“The collaboration between the Cherokee Nation and Nowata will strengthen the community’s infrastructure, and that increased capacity in the water system will improve the lives of its citizens, both Cherokee and non-Cherokee,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Through our business success, we are able to make these kinds of investments and partnerships. The Cherokee Nation plays a key role in ensuring northeast Oklahoma remains a great place to live and raise a family. We have a vested interest in doing all we can to make sure our communities flourish and continue to grow.”
The Cherokee Nation donated $50,000 and manpower to replace the deteriorating steel water pipes with 4-inch thick polyethylene pipes. The former waterline, installed in the 1950s, frequently caused low water pressure or water outages from massive water leaks, frustrating and potentially harming local residents.
“The old waterline was dilapidated and caused numerous problems for our citizens,” said Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Dick Lay of Ochelata. “Completing this project eases the concerns of citizens who deserve not to worry day to day if they will have access to clean and reliable water.”
Cherokee Nation began planning last year and started the work in May. The city of Nowata now assumes operation and maintenance costs of the new waterline.
Cherokee citizen John Phillips who lives on 10-acres of his family’s original Cherokee allotment said he tried getting new water pipes along the road years earlier and is thankful the Cherokee Nation stepped in to help.
“Getting a new waterline has been a long, long time coming,” Phillips said. “The line we had was real old, and the steel pipe rusted. It would have bad leaks, and we property owners had to patch it and patch it again. Cherokee Nation replacing this is such a blessing, and I am so thankful.”
Cherokee Nation Community Services completed 10 water and sewer projects, totaling more than $250,000, in fiscal year 2013. For more information on Community Services’ engineering and sanitation program, visithttp://www.cherokee.org/Services/Community/EngineeringandSanitation.aspx.