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Letters to the Editor

Water and wishful thinking

Ron Ferrell March 6th, 2013

I want to thank Oklahoma Gazette for featuring three important stories, in back-to-back issues, about our looming water crisis. Western Oklahoma hasn’t had measurable rain in about three years. Farm ponds are dry. Foss Lake is in crisis. Clinton is in dire water straits, and the list grows.

The USDA drought monitor map issued Feb. 5 predicts more of the same, and now Canton Lake is drained to record low levels to keep Oklahoma City on its unsustainable water usage path.

Farmers and ranchers have drastically reduced their cattle herds for lack of hay and water due to this ongoing, severe drought. Another season of drought and there will be very few, if any, cattle left in Western Oklahoma. Feed crops and hay are severely impacted. Wheat crops may not even make this year. This is a crisis, folks.

Marsha Slaughter, Oklahoma City’s utilities director, said in the Feb. 13 Gazette (News, “Dry ideas,” Clifton Adcock) that “another 30,000 acre feet of water should be available for the taking next year ... and the lake should refill in up to two years.”

I’m not sure where Ms. Slaughter is getting her information, but that statement is in dire contrast to major weather indicators. It appears to be mere wishful thinking to justify draining Canton Lake to meet current demands. And still there is no comprehensive water restriction implementation in OKC to preserve our fragile water supplies. Shameful.

Let us not forget our fellow Okies in Western Oklahoma who are living this nightmare. This is not a futuristic scenario. This drought is their current, ongoing nightmare.

Another year of predicted high temperatures and no rain will surely spell disaster for Western and Central Oklahoma. Yes, Oklahoma City, we are included in this drought map. Oklahoma City and the urban areas, which seem to view this drought as not our problem, are in the path of this drought. It’s called desertification.

As a resident of OKC, I want to see Ms. Slaughter and the utilities department exhibit bold, decisive leadership in terms of water usage restrictions for the metro.

It seems to me that Oklahoma City utilities leaders are waiting until we are out of water to implement a sensible water plan.

—Ron Ferrell, Oklahoma City

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