ARPELAR, Okla. -- The water battle isn't over between Rural Water District No. 7 and the city of McAlester. The rural district is seeking an injunction to prevent the city from following through with a plan to stop selling water to the Arpelar-based district on July 1.
The McAlester City Council gave the district notice a year ago that it needed to find an alternate source of water. The rural district resells the water it gets from McAlester to its 700 customers.
A legal dispute erupted over the desire by both entities to supply water to the Exposition Center. The water district filed a federal lawsuit in 1997 accusing the city of encroachment into the district's geographical boundaries.
The latest arguments center on whether matters related to the injunction are part of an appeal to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That appeal involves a previous ruling by the federal court in Muskogee. The federal court has ruled previously that McAlester may continue to sell water to the industrial park, the exposition center and other properties that the rural district contended are in its territory.
Steve Harris, the attorney for the rural district, told members of the rural district that he didn't expect the district to be without water. Harris believes the contract is good through June 2000. He also doesn't expect the city to turn off the water July 1. He said if the water is turned off, residents might have to haul water or buy bottled water.
Some residents were worried about the threat of fire while the area is without water. McAlester City Manager Randy Green said the city has a mutual aid agreement with small and volunteer fire departments to help in emergency situations.
``Whether it is for a day, a month or until they find another source, we are internally set up to provide them fire response,'' he said.
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