Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: January 24, 2013
Sen. Bryce Marlatt
Sen. Marlatt urges OKC to adopt more aggressive
water conservation before destroying Canton Lake
Taking an additional 30,000 acre-feet of water from Canton Lake
would only be a temporary fix for Oklahoma City’s water woes,
but the immediate and long-term impact on western Oklahoma would
be devastating, with repercussions for the entire state, said State
Marlatt, R-Woodward. He urged Oklahoma City officials to be
better stewards of the resource—and better neighbors to Western
The state’s largest city announced watering limits last week,
but Marlatt said that move was really too little, too late. This
week it was reported that the city’s water utilities department
will present plans for more aggressive conservation measures, including
higher prices and increased rationing, over the next few weeks.
Marlatt said those should be enacted before taking water from western
“Everyone knows we are in a prolonged drought, and cutting
back on outdoor watering in the dead of winter really isn’t
a solution. Oklahoma City’s ultimate plan is a huge draw on
Canton Lake, the main recreational lake in western Oklahoma, but
this is essentially going to kill our lake,” Marlatt said.
“Legally, they have the right to do it. But it doesn’t
make it morally right. Oklahoma City needs to do everything it possibly
can to avoid this draw down for as long as possible.”
Canton Lake is not only important to fisherman who head there for
the plentiful walleye, sand bass, catfish and more—it is also
the walleye hatchery for the entire state. The plan to draw an additional
30,000 acre-feet of water would end that.
“It is essentially going to kill the lake for five to 10 years.
All the game fish that people come for will die out, and there will
be no more walleye hatchery,” Marlatt said. “This is
going to have a negative impact on lakes throughout Oklahoma.”
Although Oklahoma City has the legal rights to the water in Canton
Lake, it is still a critical part of western Oklahoma’s tourism
and recreation, but like the hatchery, any recreational use of the
lake will become a thing of the past once the water is gone.
“Once they draw the water, recreational boating will be nonexistent.
The remaining water will not reach a single boat ramp. People who
come to boat and fish will stop coming and it’s going to impact
local economies—restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations,
and cabin rentals will see all those dollars go away,” Marlatt
said. “That’s going to have a chain reaction in our
Rep. Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher, said it is critical for Oklahoma
City to view taking the water from Lake Canton as a last resort
to be avoided as long as possible. He also urged the metro to look
at more aggressive ways to limit water use.
“The economic and environmental impact to Canton and western
Oklahoma will be felt for years to come if this goes through,”
Sanders said. “This is a dire situation, and the fact of the
matter is, if they aren’t conserving water, then they are
actually wasting water. We simply don’t have the water to
Marlatt called the situation a disaster for western Oklahoma, and
a potential disaster for Oklahoma City.
“At best, this is only a temporary fix for Oklahoma City,”
Marlatt said. “But once they take this water from Canton Lake,
that’s it--the water will be gone and people in both parts
of the state are going to pay the price for Oklahoma City not doing
more to conserve this precious resource.”
For more information contact:
Sen. Marlatt: (405) 521-2626