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December 19, 2012

Lake reaching critical lows

City could face water conservation in January

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The bill would allow COMCD to import and store water from other sources into Lake Thunderbird. If it doesn’t get passed this year, supporters of the bill will have to start over.

“It’s critical that we get this legislation approved,” Worden said.

A reuse study commissioned by COMCD looked at five options for using wastewater effluent treated to a higher standard to be put back into Lake Thunderbird, either directly or indirectly, through a tributary. The study also looked at non-reuse options as a means of comparison.

Reuse of discharge effluent is more economical and does not require the legislation be passed to allow it. However, there are hurdles to cross with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality if that route is to become viable.

“This could be the first project under the new reuse regulations that DEQ would address,” Worden said. “That water is there every day. Everybody flushes.”

The non-reuse sources of water looked at in the study — including sources from southeast Oklahoma, Kaw Lake, Scissortail Lake or Parker Reservoir — would require federal lawmakers to pass the legislation to allow COMCD to use and store that water.

Of those options, Scissortail was least expensive, with Parker coming in second. However, Worden said Parker likely would have fewer issues with tribal concerns and endangered species than the Scissortail option.

“Conservation, quite frankly, is the least costly of all the options,” Worden said. “It will mean a reduction in irrigation. If things continue as they are right now, we will reach our record low in February and exceed it. It doesn’t bode well for this summer.”

Joy Hampton366-3539jhampton@normantranscript.com

 

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