The Norman Transcript

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February 14, 2013

OKC has no extra water to sell for Norman’s use

(Continued)

NORMAN —

According to the National Weather Service, Norman received less than an inch of precipitation on Monday.

“We’re thankful for all we get, but it won’t have much effect on the lake level,” Worden said.

The lake level remains down nearly 8 feet below the conservation pool, which is about 62 percent full.

COMCD in January asked its water customers — Norman, Del City and Midwest City — to reduce allotments by 10 percent. Norman has instituted mandatory water conservation, including even-odd watering as a result, but the cool winter months are not high-use times. Usage in winter runs nearly one-third of high-usage marks in the summer heat. The coming summer is the greatest concern for city leaders.

“There’s no question that the most important near-term strategy we as a community need to embrace is stricter conservation,” Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said. “We will be looking at all possible means of communicating the importance of conservation to our customers.”

The city has asked the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality to allow it to use reclaimed water from the wastewater treatment plant on the city’s compost. Reclaimed water is higher in nitrogen than drinking water, which is an added bonus to the gallons of drinking water that would be saved. The city already uses reclaimed water for foam suppression, washing weirs and lubricating pump seals at the sewer treatment plant.

“That saves us about 13 million gallons a month,” Utilities Director Ken Komiske said.

“The city is aggressively looking at ways to get our operations off the potable water supply,” Rosenthal said. “We’ve had successes already, but we’re going to have to double-down and do even more.”

DEQ has responded to the city’s request to use reclaimed water on the city compost. The agency sent six questions to the city and also included some suggestions.

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