...While there are a number of issues that are vitally important, there is none that is more critical than ensuring this state has an adequate water supply. Some might say it's not as important as education, workers' compensation or tort reform, or providing funding for corrections, roads and bridges and other infrastructure. Other observers might be inclined to believe the water situation this state faces today will fix itself once it begins raining and the drought goes away.

But if we don't have a sufficient water supply in Oklahoma, we will be in huge trouble. ... Look at just some of the lake levels. Broken Bow lake in far southeastern Oklahoma is 161?2 feet below normal and Lake Eufaula, little more than an hour east of Shawnee, is 12 feet below normal. Without major rainfall, the conditions will only worsen. The last six months of 2005 were the driest since 1921. The last 90 days ranked within the top five of the driest period in state history. ...

More than 25 years ago Oklahoma was facing concerns about its water supply. About 1 percent of the state budget in the early 1980s was being spent on water planning.

We highly suggest that legislators move the water concerns much higher on the political agenda. We haven't seen it on anyone's agenda thus far, except for the city of Shawnee. ...

-- The Shawnee News-Star

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