lake thunderbird

Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

With concern over drought at a high point and plans to get water from southeast Oklahoma falling through, the City of Norman decided in 2014 to pursue a plan to clean water that has been used by customers and return it to Lake Thunderbird — the city’s main water source — to be used again.

Kristina and David / Flickr Creative Commons

Norman’s water problems are well documented. From dwindling supplies at Lake Thunderbird — the city’s deeply troubled main source of water — to anoverstressed and aging water treatment plant. Not to mention the outcry over the use of drinking water to drill an oil well with the public under mandatory conservation rules.

LLudo / Flickr Creative Commons

Moore, Norman and Oklahoma City are the primary polluters of Lake Thunderbird, a sensitive drinking water source classified as “impaired” by the Environmental Protection Agency, new data show.

State and municipal water and environmental authorities have been working on a plan to clean up the lake, colloquially referred to as “dirtybird” for its murky appearance and weird smell, which still hasn’t met Clean Water Act target dates from 30 years ago.

2011 Water Conservation Plan for the City of Norman

A growth in demand and decline in supply has made water the most valuable resource in Norman and perhaps even in the state. Legislators, city officials and scientists are working to create comprehensive plans to create water sustainability. Lake Thunderbird is a major water source for Norman and surrounding cities. Officials say if they don’t find a solution soon, water may become a scarce resource.

Assignment: Radio March 24, 2013

Mar 25, 2013
Hayley Thornton

Each week, Assignment: Radio brings you stories on a different theme. Last time we took you to some interesting events in the community. This week, we focus on hard news topics like environmental conservation and the drug war. 

Assignment: Radio is KGOU's student-produced public affairs program focusing on issues and events on the University of Oklahoma campus.