The Norman Transcript

Opinion

January 14, 2013

New facility not needed

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Let them try. Can they find another city that will tolerate their hostile business model or one that isn’t facing water shortages?

Norman is waking up to the water crisis. Developers have even co-opted the issue to give weight to their rhetoric. They actually suggest a NWRF is necessary to prevent Norman from running out of water. Sounds like a bad joke, but these are the arguments they’re using. They’ll also speak in terms of voter mandates.

Why? They need the voters to think it’s a legitimate expense of taxpayer funds, not just another subsidy for speculation, land grabs and luxury PUDs (which it actually is).

While every council member will pay lip service to water quality issues, few will go against the development agenda. It is disturbing to see city officials buying into the deluded idea of an infinite frontier without scarcity.

What makes them do it? Unlike the small farms and ranches in the floodplains, it is impossible for PUDs and strip malls to peacefully coexist with nature. They destroy it. The magic of technology cannot resolve the problem and produce water ex nihilo.

The problem of scarcity cannot be engineered away. Piping in water to augment the Lake’s supply is a temporary, technological fix lobbied for by development interests so they can grow their profits for another year. Technological solutions cannot replace the natural processes destroyed by sprawl and overdevelopment.

Our watersheds and floodplains must remain off limits. These scarce resources are vital to replenishing reservoirs and keeping our waterways in good health. Citizens, council members, city planners and community groups should strongly oppose rezoning and reclamation projects that accelerate the same destructive development trends that have exhausted the carrying capacity of our land and water.

This crisis is not the invention of alarmists. We are running out of water. Mandatory conservation will go into effect this month. Lake levels are lower than most can recall ever seeing it. All the more reason why sensitive areas like wetlands, watersheds, and floodplains must remain our top priority for conservation.

Casey Holcomb

Norman

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