NORMAN — A local homeowner’s association wants to drill a private well, transgress the public right of way and bore under public streets to provide irrigation and water for a private swimming pool.
The Cascade Addition Homeowner’s Association wants to install five underground street crossings in the public right of way. The residential subdivision in northwest Norman, south of Tecumseh Road and west of 36th Avenue Northwest, would dig a well to provide irrigation to provide water for its private swimming pool.
HOA President Vince DiCastro said in addition to saving the HOA about $13,000 annually, the private well would allow the HOA to take its swimming pool and irrigation system off of city water, freeing up millions of gallons for other uses.
But the HOA will have to drill 600 to 640 feet to hit water and would tap the same aquifer that supplies Norman’s city water wells. In drought conditions, that could put stress on the water supply, some say.
“We would be following the city’s water restrictions,” DiCastro said.
He said the HOA is aware of the strain the drought is putting on the overall water supply. Currently, with spring rains bringing relief, the HOA is not irrigating in order to conserve, he said.
Private wells were discussed by the Norman City Council Oversight Committee last month. This month, they addressed specifics of the request from Cascade HOA.
City leaders have concerns about private wells but may be limited in how much control they have over private water rights. Oklahoma law recognizes the water rights of property owners and does not allow cities or other governmental entities to forbid the drilling of private wells. The state does, however, put certain limits on wells, and cities may require permits.
Norman has been permitting wells since the 1970s. The drought has made wells more popular and many homeowner’s associations have made inquiries regarding drilling private wells. These wells would be used for non-drinking purposes such as irrigation of a neighborhood’s common areas such as parks or community gardens or, as in the case of Cascade, swimming pools.