The Norman Transcript


June 6, 2013

Lake Thunderbird on the rise


Spring rains —

The COMCD manages Thunderbird, which is a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation lake, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does flood control for all U.S. lakes.

Adkins said the Corps is likely to keep Thunderbird high to retain a normal pool level into the hot summer months. If the flood gates are opened, that will not restrict pumping for municipal and industrial uses.

While city leaders hope Norman residents will continue to be water wise, the city ended mandatory water conservation effective today.

“The city sincerely thanks the residents and businesses that were instrumental in helping everyone maintain water supplies during the many days of record low water levels in Lake Thunderbird,” City Manager Steve Lewis said .

In January, with the drought continuing into its third year, the COMCD imposed a mandatory 10 percent reduction to Norman’s allocation of water from Lake Thunderbird. Norman implemented water rationing Jan. 14.

With water levels back to normal, COMCD suspended 10 percent reduction in allocation. Norman also has contracted with Del City to use a portion of its Thunderbird allotment if needed.

Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske said water customers are encouraged to be water wise this summer.

“When people do start watering their lawns, we hope people will keep good watering practices in mind,” Komiske said. “Watering every other day is better for your yard. It gets the roots established more and it’s better for your wallet.”

In addition to drawing water from Lake Thunderbird, Norman supplements its water supply with wells.

Every spring, well motors are checked and wells are disinfected as a safety measure. Often, however, when Norman buys treated water from Oklahoma City during high-use months, part of the issue is the ability to treat mass quantities of raw water.

“We’re replacing about three and a half miles of 33-inch diameter water line with 48-inch line,” Komiske said. “This will give us greater treatment capacity ... but we are still bound by the annual allocation of water we’re allowed to draw from the lake.”

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