Canton Lake Officials Fear Ramifications Of OKC Water Use During Drought

Thursday, January 17th 2013, 11:38 pm
By: News 9

Mandatory water rationing is in effect in Oklahoma City. Something experts say is extremely rare during the winter. But, with lakes Hefner, Overholser and Draper just over half full, the city is implementing the odd/even watering rules.

This also applies to all cities that use OKC water. The city actually pulls from six different lakes across the state. Another one of those is Canton Lake. And, because of the drought, that lake is already nine and a half feet below its normal level.

Canton Lake Manager Kathy Carlson says, on the average, visitation to Canton Lake is somewhere around 900,000 visitors, a year. She says visitation was down in 2011 and 2012 due to a tornado that wiped out camp grounds and of course ongoing drought conditions.

1/17/2013 Related Story: Drought Forces Mandatory Water Restrictions For OKC, Surrounding Cities

"If we release more water to Oklahoma City, which they have the water rights, we store the water for them, it's going to go so low that's it's going to be like the second lowest pool that we've ever experienced," Carlson said.

Carlson says the last time that happened was in 1951. Canton Lake is one of six OKC pulls from across the state. You're looking at much healthier Canton Lake back in 2006, when water was released.

"Canton Lake fills the Overholser and Hefner lakes when there hasn't been adequate rainfall in the North Canadian River," said Marsha Slaughter, Utilities Director for Oklahoma City said.

The wettest months of the year are March, April, May and June. News 9 is told the latest report that came out on the drought monitor says we're going to get less rain than normal for those few months. The OKC utilities Director, says they're trying to plan ahead.