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Law is on Oklahoma City's side in water fight

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board and J.E. McReynolds Modified: June 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm •  Published: February 2, 2013

Complaints by lawmakers about release of water from Canton Lake remind us of disgruntled heirs carping over an aging parent spending their inheritance.

Oklahoma City is exercising its legal right to take water from Canton to replenish local lakes drawn down by lack of rain. This is a bridge too far for Canton Lake and northwest Oklahoma partisans — just as the city’s use of southeast Oklahoma water has been.

“Where is their water conservation plan?” asked state Rep. Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher. He blamed the Canton transfer on a planning failure. Actually, it’s a routine move to rebuild levels at Lake Hefner after months of below-normal rainfall. Oklahoma City waited to make the change until Hefner got quite low and even delayed the transfer until a recent rain made the North Canadian riverbed more suitable for a transfer. That in itself is a conservation plan.

Conflicts over water between urban and nonurban areas are age-old, but the law is clearly on Oklahoma City’s side. Just as it’s everyone’s right to spend money instead of saving it for another’s inheritance, the city is doing what’s in the best interest of the people who pay local water bills and who must adopt their own conservation plans to save money and to obey rationing restrictions whenever they’re imposed.

Meantime, billions of gallons of water have been flowing into the Red River because the state lacks the political will to turn this wasted treasure into cash by selling the water to urban areas in North Texas.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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by J.E. McReynolds
Opinion Editor
J.E. McReynolds is Opinion editor at The Oklahoman and has worked for the newspaper’s Opinion section since 1995. He joined The Oklahoman as business editor in 1985 and was previously managing editor of The Journal Record. A native Oklahoman,...
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