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December 29, 2012

Snowfall, rain not the same in inches

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Lake Thunderbird’s pool elevation is 1031.59 feet as of noon on Friday. That is over 7 feet below normal meaning the conservation pool is only 62.65 percent full.

A letter will go out this week from the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District asking its municipal water customers, Norman, Midwest City and Del City to reduce their water usage from Lake Thunderbird.

“We’re not talking about a drought year,” Harrington said. “We’re talking about a drought cycle.”

Harrington said this cycle could be similar to earlier decades where the drought cycle spans five to eight years.

“We’re in year three of something that could be from five to eight years,” Harrington said. “We’ve got to start thinking in these terms. This is not something that’s going to go away with a couple of good rains. We’re going to have to think conservation.”

While water levels in portions of the Mississippi are causing problems for barge transport, navigation is generally slow this time of year anyway, according to Tulsa Port of Catoosa Director Bob Portiss.

Located in Northeast Oklahoma at the head of navigation for the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, the Tulsa Port of Catoosa is is one of the largest, most inland river-ports in the U.S. and is vital to Oklahoma’s economy. The Port has 2,000-acre industrial park with a multi-modal transportation center and an ice-free port providing year-round shipping to ports of the world

In an average year, 13-million tons of cargo, including sand and rock to fertilizer, wheat, raw steel, refined petroleum products and petrochemical processing equipment, is transported on the McClellan-Kerr by barge, accoring to Port data.

.“For the foreseeable future we should be OK along the McClellan-Kerr, ” Portiss said. “If the drought continues we will be concerned.”

Joy Hampton366-3539jhampton@normantranscript.com

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