Augmenting a Critical Supply
When one Oklahoma community recognized a diminishing groundwater supply, Kaw Lake served as the solution — and Garver is partnering with them to make it possible.
In 2009, officials from the City of Enid, Oklahoma looked to the northeast of their city some 70 miles and saw its future in Kaw Lake.
For decades, the City had relied on wells far to its west for drinking water, but as that groundwater supply became less reliable, officials knew they were headed toward tough decisions. Kaw Lake served as the solution.
To realize that vision, the City decided to augment the groundwater supply it had relied on for so long with a surface water supply provided by the lake. And Garver’s program management services, which include conceptual development of the overall infrastructure program, design, cost estimating, schedule development, cash flow analysis, treatability analysis, land acquisition, environmental services, and more, is making that a reality.
When the Enid Kaw Lake Water Supply Program is complete, residents will enjoy a new, sustainable supply that is planned to address needs for up to 50 years.
"This has the opportunity to not only help the citizens of Enid but also the agricultural community and the oil and gas operations — both huge economic drivers in Oklahoma."
Chief Operating Officer
Garver Chief Operating Officer Michael Graves has seen the program advance from its infancy — first as program manager while formerly serving as Garver’s Central Region Water Director — and calls it a “legacy project” for the City and Garver.
“This is one of the most substantial water supply projects in northwest Oklahoma’s history,” said Graves, a lifelong Oklahoman. “This has the opportunity to not only help the citizens of Enid but also the agricultural community and the oil and gas operations — both huge economic drivers in Oklahoma.”
Because of the program’s scope — at $315 million, it’s the largest capital project in the City’s history — officials didn’t just need designers but also a firm to manage every intricate detail of the expansive program. They hired Garver to do both — design each element and serve as program manager.
“We evaluated [consultants] on internal corporate processes and procedures that are essential for project control, project management, scheduling. Do they understand systems engineering? Do they understand the interfaces of a system and how to treat them?” said Enid Director of Engineering Chris Gdanski. “Those were the things that I needed to help me execute this program.”
Planning and Scheduling
A key to delivering a program with so many moving parts — 11 different projects are being developed simultaneously — is planning before the ball gets rolling. Garver Deputy Program Manager Shane Smith, PE, began by developing detailed strategy manuals for each phase of the program, along with risk registries aimed at mitigating any possible issues that might crop up along the way.
“This gives us a playbook of how we’re going to proceed,” Smith said. “We’ve already gone through the scenarios of how we’ll respond if unexpected situations or circumstances come to fruition. It gives us the guidelines so that we can make well-educated decisions on how to quickly proceed.”
In addition, Garver employs a team of professionals based in offices across the country that utilize tools, software, and reporting to keep large infrastructure programs on track, on budget, and on time. Garver’s Project Controls Team allows the project engineers to be more productive and efficient, which is a huge cost and schedule benefit to the client.
“It allows us, as engineers, to be more proactive in our duties,” said Garver Water Infrastructure Project Manager Eric Fladie. “When experts can focus on their expertise within the program and not have to deal with anything else, everyone is better off.”
Setting the Path
A pipeline stretching 70 miles from Kaw Lake to a new water treatment plant requires substantial land acquisition efforts — 230 parcels, to be exact — which Garver’s program management services provided. They worked alongside City officials and land agents to help standardize compensation terms, while also being good stewards of the environment and the landowners’ properties throughout the life of the program.
This monumental task might be daunting for a municipal staff, but it’s just as important to the City’s water future as an innovative design or consistent scheduling and reporting.
“It’s not engineering, it’s not construction, but it’s something that has to get accomplished for us to finish the design,” Fladie said. “There aren’t a lot of municipalities that have the capacity to handle that type of service, and we’re here as an extension of their staff.”
The City has relied on groundwater supply for decades, but the augmented surface water will need to be blended with the remaining groundwater supply — a task with which the City has no previous experience.
Garver Water Practice Leader Zaid Chowdhury, PE, Ph.D., BCEE, led the effort to ensure proper integration of the new supply with the existing groundwater supply into the City’s distribution system. That way, when construction is complete, the look, taste, and feel of the new drinking water won’t disrupt the existing distribution system.
“When they turn the pumps on, that water will flow from Kaw Lake some 70 miles to a new water treatment facility and directly into their faucets,” Graves said. “And it’ll be the result of a team effort from a lot of different parties — Garver, the City, and plenty more dedicated to making sure Enid has a safe and sustainable water supply for generations to come.”
Design of each element of the program, such as intake structure, 70-mile long pipeline, booster stations, water treatment plant, terminal storage reservoir, and optimized delivery system for proper blending.
Performed topographic, aerial, hydrographic, boundary, GPS, utility locate surveys, and other services to provide necessary data for successful program initiation.
Leading a comprehensive NEPA environmental evaluation of all program components to identify and mitigate any associated impacts.
Scheduling and Reporting
Garver’s Project Controls Team is providing independent and timely data necessary to make informed and strategic decisions regarding potential impacts to overall schedule, scope, and cost.
Garver prepared a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Letter of Interest for supplemental funding, the first ever approved by the state.
Coordination with various agencies, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma Water Resources Board, various tribal nations, and others.