The Norman Transcript

Opinion

December 21, 2012

Lingering drought means conservation

NORMAN — Lake Thunderbird watchers know the years-long drought has dropped the city’s water supply to dangerously low levels. City officials learned this week that water conservation measures may be instituted as early as January.

Norman’s municipal water supply comes from wells and Thunderbird, which also supplies Midwest City and Del City. The lake’s operator, the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District, plans to request a 10 percent reduction of all its member cities next month.

City utility customers can voluntarily reduce water usage. We have responded to calls for voluntary rationing in summer months and could show the same aptitude in the spring.

Pending federal legislation would allow the lake to buy, import and store water from southeastern Oklahoma by way of the existing pipeline that serves Oklahoma City water customers. Sen. Jim Inhofe is spearheading that legislation, which doesn’t look promising this year.

Even if the drought conditions improve, Norman will continue to look for ways to reduce use while building additional supply capacity. In city meetings, water quantity and quality have always been top of mind among citizens.

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