WASHINGTON — As Norman residents prepare for rare winter water rationing because of low levels at Lake Thunderbird, President Barack Obama on Thursday signed legislation that will allow officials to augment the water supply at the lake.
The bill, which gained final Senate approval in the waning hours of the 2012 session, would allow the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District, which operates and maintains the lake under contract with the federal government, to purchase water from Oklahoma City's Atoka Reservoir.
Obama's signature came two days after the Norman City Council approved measures to ban outdoor watering and irrigation on some days and limit it on others.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, who helped obtain Senate approval just before the session ended, said when it passed, “Lake Thunderbird was built to provide safe, clean water to a dry region, but due to the rapid growth of surrounding communities and the recent years of drought, the lake's supply has not been able to meet regional demand.
“This legislation ensures Lake Thunderbird will continue to provide the water resources necessary to support ongoing economic growth in the Oklahoma City region.”
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, who got the bill through the House last summer, said, “After another year of drought, it's more important than ever to ensure Central Oklahoma has a reliable supply of water.
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After another year of drought, it's more important than ever to ensure Central Oklahoma has a reliable supply of water.
Rep. Tom Cole,