Vendome Well Water Conservation & Public Meeting

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Date: July 30, 2010
Contact: Eric Leonard, 580 622-7282

The National Park Service plans to implement a procedure to reduce the amount of water flowing from the historic Vendome Well in Chickasaw National Recreation Area’s Platt Historic District. Any member or the public who has questions or concerns about these plans is invited to attend a public meeting at the Vendome Well site to be held at 6:30 pm on Thursday, August 5th.

The Vendome Well in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area may be the best-known well in Oklahoma (more than 1 million people visit the park each year). In 1922, the Vendome well, located adjacent to the northwest corner of Flower Park, was drilled to serve as the centerpiece of a resort development. In 1979, the Vendome Well property was acquired by the park. In 1998, the Vendome well was completely overhauled following the drilling of a new well about twenty feet west of the original well enclosure. The 1998 well has a stainless steel casing to resist corrosion, and the water is piped to the center of the historic concrete enclosure.

The park was originally established as Sulphur Springs Reservation in 1902 and was formally designated Platt National Park in 1906. According to the legislation that established the park in 1906, "the Secretary of the Interior may, under rules prescribed for that purpose, regulate and control the use of the water of said springs and creeks...." Acting on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior, park staff have worked hard to carry out these management responsibilities for over a century.

The park’s 2008 General Management Plan called for management of the Vendome Well to reduce the discharge of groundwater during times when it is not being used or enjoyed by the public. A variety of options were considered, including shutting off the well at night or reducing the flow. Recent data demonstrates that the flow from artesian wells in the vicinity of the Park has dropped 87-100% over a 90-100 year period. The proposed regulating of the discharge from the Vendome Well is an attempt to arrest the decline in spring and stream flows.

The park has recently installed an automatic valve that will reduce the flow to approximately 50% between the hours of midnight and four o’clock a.m. The result will be a savings / reduction of 108 million gallons per year. The total reduction is approximately 36%.Through experimentation, study, and analysis, park resource specialists have determined that this level of reduction will have little or no significant change in biological processes downstream.

Present full flow: 1.28 cfs (cublic feet per second), or 302 million gal/year
Proposed flow from 4:00 a.m. to midnight: .939 cfs, or 185 million gal/year
Proposed reduced flow from midnight to 4:00 a.m.: .224 cfs, or 8.8 million gal/year Proposed total flow: 193 million gal/year
Total reduction = 108 million gal/year

Since the well will still flow continuously, visitors will be able to collect mineral water at any time, twenty-four hours per day. Park Superintendent Bruce Noble remarked, “Reducing the annual flow from the Vendome Well by more than one-third is a significant step to conserving the water resources of the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer, and will assist in making certain that the Vendome Well remains a valuable part of the park for many years to come.”

Last updated: March 31, 2012

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