The Norman Transcript

Editorials

February 28, 2013

Through the water prism

NORMAN — For the past two municipal election cycles, candidates have been asked their view of the most important issue facing Norman. To a person, all declared water quantity and quality as one of their top agenda items.

That rang true at the city council meeting this week. Two decades ago, Norman City Council members wouldn’t have taken up, much less passed, an ordinance regulating lawn fertilizer.

Today, nearly every discussion is viewed under the prism of water. The lake level, currently at 1,031 feet, is monitored daily. Outdoor watering rules, in place for the first time ever this early in the year, will likely be more restrictive.

The council’s 7-2 vote reflects concern that the fertilizer restrictions should have been educational and not mandatory. However, voluntary restrictions have not always worked for water use. We’re not sure how they would be any different for fertilizer use.

All options are on the table for Norman’s future water use. The federal law change that allows water to be transferred from Oklahoma City’s supply in southeastern Oklahoma to Lake Thunderbird may be meaningless if OKC doesn’t have the water to sell.

Additionally, talk of returning treated or “gray” water to Lake Thunderbird is likely decades away, even though the same water ends up downstream in other municipal reservoirs.

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