The Norman Transcript

Local news

September 3, 2009

Dealing with drought

Environmental study looks at future drought planning for Lake Thunderbird

Extreme droughts will come again, said Randy Worden, district manager of the Central Oklahoma Conservation District or COMCD.

And when drought comes, the three member cities of the COMCD -- Norman, Midwest City and Del City -- need to have more water resources at hand, he said. COMCD manages Lake Thunderbird primarily to provide raw water to the three municipalities, along with flood control and recreational activities like fishing and sailing.

Worden and environmental consultants from Tetra Tech spoke at a public meeting Tuesday at the Lake Thunderbird Boat House to launch an environmental assessment or EA exploring the effects of bringing additional water to the lake from southeastern Oklahoma.

"We are long overdue for an extended drought," Worden said.

The Lake Thunderbird Critical Need Water Supply Project would seek an agreement with the City of Oklahoma City to purchase augmentation water and draw that water from the Atoka pipeline which conveys water from Lake Atoka in southeastern Oklahoma to Lake Stanley Draper in southeast Oklahoma City.

Lake Thunderbird is a federally owned water storage facility holding 21,600 acre feet or 7 billion gallons a year, and was built in 1965. It falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. And because it's federally owned, an environmental assessment is required to be in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

The proposal would augment Thunderbird's water with 4,600 acre feet during drought periods. An acre foot is is the amount of water needed to cover an acre, one foot deep in water, or 312,851 gallons. The extra water could potentially be transferred when the lake is down to 1,036 feet above sea level, although that is not a firm number, Worden said.

Lake officials' most recent drought scare was in 2006.

The levels at Lake Thunderbird dropped to 59.75 percent of the conservation pool and a level of about 1,030 feet on March 30, 2006, the lowest level in about three decades and leaving wide expanses of exposed red-dirt shore lines. It was a situation that COMCD board member Steven Jones said at the time could require emergency action if it continued. But a strong downpour the next day brought the conservation pool back up to 71 percent, raising the elevation 2.3 feet to 1,033.45 feet above sea level.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Norman library to host community dialogue about fracking

    Are Oklahoma oil companies an oligarchy that is controlling state policy? Is fracking safe? These and other topics will be the subject of an upcoming Fracking Forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11 in the Norman Public Library’s Lowry Room, 225 ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Ride CART fare free on Ozone Alert Day

    Environmental officials have declared today as an Ozone Alert Day. Passengers ride fare free on Cleveland Area Rapid Transit on Ozone Alert Days....

    July 24, 2014

  • Medical examiner says inmate died of an accidental drug overdose

    The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday said a woman found dead in the Cleveland County jail Feb. 23 died of a drug overdose....

    July 24, 2014

  • Information scarce on ‘dark money’ group in Oklahoma superintendent campaign

    An independent expenditure group that paid for television advertisements opposing State Superintendent Janet Barresi in last month’s primary has not filed required spending reports with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission....

    July 24, 2014

  • Man injured in motorcycle wreck ID’d

    Norman police identified a man transported to Norman Regional Hospital’s emergency room after a two-vehicle collision involving a motorcycle and a car Wednesday....

    July 24, 2014

  • Wine, Organ and Compline at St. Thomas More

    St. Thomas More University Parish, 100 Stinson St., is hosting the Wine, Organ and Compline at 7 p.m. today. The series will begin with a wine and cheese gathering in the atrium, followed by an organ recital presented by guest organist ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following persons were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Kenneth Leo Turk, 64, aggravated count of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol · Kelly Revonn Turner, 21, ...

    July 24, 2014

  • First Junior Police Academy class graduates

    The Norman Police Department will host a graduation ceremony for its first Norman Junior Police Academy class today....

    July 24, 2014

  • More than 700 to receive clothing, school supplies

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Citizens Caring for Children will host a two-day Back-to-School shopping event for school-aged children in foster care living in Oklahoma, Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Lincoln, Logan and Pottawatomie counties....

    July 24, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Tuesday: · 2:36 a.m. assault report, 700 block of Stinson Street · 7:32 a.m. larceny report, 5400 block of Huettner Drive · 8:30 a.m. larceny report, 800 block of North ...

    July 24, 2014