Oklahoma City has moved ahead with plans to take an additional 30,000 acre-feet of water from Canton Lake in the western part of the state. State Sen. Bryce Marlatt said he learned Tuesday that Oklahoma City had instructed the Army Corps of Engineers to begin transferring the water on Wednesday morning. The entire process will take approximately three weeks.
“This should have been a last-ditch option for Oklahoma City, but the gates are open and the water is flowing out of Canton Lake right now,” Marlatt said. “Not only are the people of western Oklahoma going to suffer, but when the dog days of summer are here and the drought is even worse, citizens in Oklahoma City are going to be impacted as well because of a failure to adopt a pro-active water conservation plan.”
Rep. Mike Sanders was also critical of Oklahoma City’s decision to move ahead with the draw down on Canton Lake.
“Where has Oklahoma City been the last three years during this drought? Where is their water conservation plan? Lawns are still being watered in dead of winter. It makes no sense at all,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “Failure of water management planning got them to this point. It was ill-advised to use reserve water first rather than a monitored draw-down of two-thirds full Lake Hefner.”
Ironically, the rainfall on Tuesday may have been the trigger for moving ahead with the draw-down. Previously the North Canadian River bed had been so dry that a large portion of the water would have been absorbed—the rain meant more of the water from Canton Lake would make it into Lake Hefner.
“Again, the problem is this is only a temporary fix. It’s a bad deal for people in western Oklahoma, but I think in the long-run, it’s also a bad deal for the people of Oklahoma City,” Marlatt said.