It’s taken 18 years for Shawnee and Tecumseh to find even ground when it comes to Wes Watkins Reservoir, and officials have developed a revised contract that would give Tecumseh the ability to get its 15-percent share of raw water.

Shawnee and Tecumseh city leaders have put together a first-draft revision of the existing 1990 contract that explains water distribution from Wes Watkins Reservoir. The contract involves Shawnee, Tecumseh and Pottawatomie County Development Authority.


It’s taken 18 years for Shawnee and Tecumseh to find even ground when it comes to Wes Watkins Reservoir, and officials have developed a revised contract that would give Tecumseh the ability to get its 15-percent share of raw water.

Shawnee and Tecumseh city leaders have put together a first-draft revision of the existing 1990 contract that explains water distribution from Wes Watkins Reservoir. The contract involves Shawnee, Tecumseh and Pottawatomie County Development Authority.

While disputes have been taking place since 1990, negotiations started a year ago to solve problems.

Shawnee City Commissioner Linda Peterson said, “There was a lot of stuff put on the table. If things need changed, we (Shawnee and Tecumseh) tried to do that.”

She said the two entities can’t start over with a new contract, because the existing contract has bond indentures tied to it. “We can’t throw it away and start over,” Peterson said.

Peterson said Tecumseh requested raw water from the reservoir, and representatives from Shawnee and Tecumseh are working to make it happen. She said in the original agreement Shawnee was to provide treated water.

Tecumseh City Council Member Linda Praytor said Tecumseh is wanting to separate from Shawnee and bring raw water to Tecumseh. In the contract, Shawnee is entitled to 85 percent and Tecumseh is entitled to 15 percent.

Revisions focused providing a way for Tecumseh to access raw water from Wes Watkins Reservoir. If approved, the raw water line will be jointly owned by Shawnee and Tecumseh. Tecumseh will have the right to build a line to connect to the raw water line, so Tecumseh will be able to directly access raw water.

Once a line is built, Shawnee and Tecumseh would own the line up to the point of Tecusmeh’s access. Shawnee will own from that point to Shawnee’s line from Shawnee Twin Lakes, and Tecumseh would own its line going toward Tecumseh Lake.
Tecumseh would be responsible for 15 percent of the cost for the joint line, while Shawnee will pick up the remaining 85 percent.

The revised contract also explains that if there are any debts owned by Tecumseh to Shawnee or Shawnee to Tecumseh, they will be extinguished.

“At the end, no one is writing anyone any checks,” Peterson said.

Other revisions include: allowing Tecumseh access over Shawnee’s right-of-way in order to build a waterline to Tecumseh, ability to resell water to a third party and releasing Shawnee from the obligation to treat water for Tecumseh and Tecumseh’s obligation to help pay for the expansion of Shawnee’s water treatment plant.

PCDA chairman Dr. Joe Taron said Shawnee and Tecumseh has made huge progress, but PCDA needs more time to review the draft. He said the groups need to consider the past, present and future when amending the contract.

Peterson said it has taken more than a year because the representatives have been dealing with the things of the past and looking to the future.

Shawnee and Tecumseh are working to develop solutions for the problems, because the two entities were partners with PCDA in building Wes Watkins Reservoir.

The three entities will continue to discuss revisions, and a possible amendment to the 1990 agreement may be made by September.

Amanda Gire may be reached at amanda.gire@news-star.com or at 214-3934.

 Video by Brandy Brackett

Staff Reporter

 

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