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Canton Lake

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Submitted By reidhaigler
Words 876
Pages 4
Reid Haigler
Professor Horton
English 1213

The release of water from Canton Lake to replenish Oklahoma City’s drinking water has become a huge controversy in northwest Oklahoma. Oklahoma City officials claim that the city has waited as long as possible before pulling water from the lake; however, residents of Canton, Oklahoma don’t buy into this excuse. Is it really necessary to take 30,000 acre-feet of water from a lake that is already at a record low without much chance of recuperation? Besides the argument of whether or not Oklahoma City’s decision is warranted, the economy of the city of Canton as well as the lake’s land and wildlife habitat could experience detrimental losses. Oklahoma’s collective lakes have experienced an intense drought in the past two years. It is due to this drought that this issue has even come to light. Some claim Canton Lake was created as a reserve for Oklahoma City’s drinking water while others claim that it was created for flood control. As The Enid News and Eagle clarifies, “Kathy Carlson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake manager, told the group the lake was built for flood control, water supply and irrigation. Later, secondary purposes were included that added wildlife habitat and recreation” (Barron). Regardless of why the lake was created, local residents believe the water release is unnecessary. Canton business owners, residents, and even surrounding towns argue that Oklahoma City residents and businesses have been negligent concerning water conservation during this drought. As Representative Mike Sanders told NewsOK, “Lawns are still being watered in dead of winter…Failure of water management planning got them to this point. It was ill-advised to use reserve water first rather than a monitored drawdown of two-thirds full Lake Hefner” (Crum). On the other hand, Oklahoma City insists that it has only drawn water due to necessity. Also, a congressional contract exists leaving the rights of this reserve to the mercy of Oklahoma City officials. Legally, Oklahoma City has committed no crime but what about the morality of the decision? As far as the economy goes, Canton thrives on its lake’s tourism. Canton Lake draws people from all over the state. These tourists keep Canton’s small businesses afloat. Some of these businesses, such as bait shops and restaurants, solely depend on the lake. Canton is a small community with a population of about 600 residents and consists of one grocery store, two convenience stores, and two variety stores. Unfortunately, the people of Canton cannot support these businesses alone. It’s just not possible; therefore, revenue from the lake’s tourism is crucial to the town’s survival. The lake also plays a significant role where the land and wildlife are concerned. Animals’ dependence on the lake is crucial. Feral hogs use this lake not only for protection but also as breeding grounds. Waterfowl depend on the lake, not only for water, but also as a food source. With the lake running low, more fish will die which means less food for the waterfowl. What our lake is most widely known for is walleye. Because Canton Lake is used for stocking other lakes with walleye, not only our lake will suffer but the rest of the lakes around the state that depend on Canton Lake will suffer, too. The lake’s dangerously low level will also cause some of the deer population to migrate to a new location. This affects our economy where hunting is concerned. An abundant amount of land around the lake is allotted for public hunting. People from across the state use this land during hunting season. These hunters also support our town’s businesses. With the deer population running lower, we will lose the revenue brought in by hunters. Every year, around the beginning of May, Canton Lake holds one of the best fishing tournaments in Oklahoma. The Walleye Rodeo is an extremely popular fishing tournament. People from all over come and compete for a chance to win cash or fishing equipment. It brings Canton more business. With our lake being this low, the Walleye Rodeo will not be as popular. Not as many people will come because of this. Therefore, our town will not get as much business. The debate between northwest Oklahoma and Oklahoma City will most likely continue until Canton Lake recuperates from this devastating loss. Oklahoma City views the water release as a legal decision. Canton and surrounding towns see this act as an issue of morality. The environmental impact this water loss will have on the area angers residents. The economic hit Canton will take this spring and summer scares them. People’s livelihood depends on the lake and its tourism. If business owners and their employees are forced to look elsewhere for work, that could be the end of a once charming, thriving lake community.

Works Cited
Barron, Robert. Canton Lake water will be diverted to Oklahoma City. 30 January 2013. 4 February 2013 <>.

Crum, William. Water released from Canton Lake on its way to Oklahoma City. 30 January 2013. <>.

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