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June 4, 2014

Norman to choose future water direction

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The purpose of the meeting was to gather public responses on the two portfolios, which have been determined to hold the answers to Norman’s future water supply issues.

“We’re already a little short on our local supply capacity,” Rehring said.

Part of the problem is peak day demand. During hot and dry summers, Norman water customers use water faster than the city’s facility can treat it some days. That results in emergency purchases of treated water from Oklahoma City.

Lake Thunderbird accounts for about two-thirds of Norman’s drinking water supply. The city’s water wells make up the rest, with purchases from Oklahoma City making up a small portion. But times, they are a changin’ as the song goes, and that means more stress on an aging system, more demand with growth in population and more limits based on regulations and drought.

“We’ve got the potential for future ground water reductions because of water quality standards,“ Rehring said.

The ad hoc committee and Carollo Engineers looked at a variety of source options and eliminated those that were not feasible for Norman. Weighted criteria were used to compare 14 different supply portfolios. Criteria included quality, affordability, long-term reliability, implementation certainty, efficient use of resources and environmental stewardship.

Based on those criteria, the possibilities were narrowed to two potential portfolios of existing and future water supply sources.

 

Norman’s options: Known as Portfolio 13 and Portfolio 14, these options include many common elements. Both would continue to rely upon Norman’s wells and Lake Thunderbird as primary source components. Both would also aggressively pursue continued conservation and non-potable reuse options.

Portfolio 13 would partner with Oklahoma City to develop a regional water supply, in part through building a water line from Atoka. The capital investment cost is highest in this portfolio and much of the expense comes up front.

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