State Rep. Josh Cockroft is calling on the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to work together to release water from Lake Thunderbird into the Little River basin.
“Farmers and ranchers have been pleading for relief as their wells and irrigation systems are drying up due to the drought,” said Cockroft, R-Tecumseh. “My office has sent letters to each of these agencies asking for water to be released. Many farmers and ranchers wells have already dried up and crops have been ruined due to the lack of water in the river basin. I am confident that water could be safely released without hurting Norman’s water supply.”
Cockroft represents House District 27, which includes the outskirts of Norman and the towns of Little Axe, Pink, Macomb, Tribbey, Tecumseh, Harjo and Maud. Each of these areas is directly affected by the Little River basin.
Lake Thunderbird is a federally-owned water storage facility under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. The Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District operates and maintains the dam, lake and raw water pumping and delivery system under contract with the Bureau of Reclamation.
The amount of water used by the cities of Norman, Del City and Midwest City for municipal water purposes is based on a surface water permit issued by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board regulates the maximum amount of water used for water supply purposes.
“I have studied this issue thoroughly at the request of farmers and ranchers in my district and I believe this is an appropriate and much-needed solution to local drought conditions. I expect a quick response from the agencies involved,” Cockroft said.