OUR VIEW: Infrastructure investments pay for themselves
As most of Carter County, Oklahoma and the state of Texas continue to rebound from the recent polar vortex that inundated the states with snow and sub-freezing temperatures, the importance of longterm infrastructure planning quickly made an impact.
While most, from government entities to private citizens will wait until something is broken before taking steps to fix or replace the problem, the most successful entities always work potential longterm issues into their budgeting.
Much like an individual's emergency fund, a savvy entity — be it a private company or a municipal government — will expect certain conditions to cause certain problems. However, the historic conditions endured over the last week blew up even the best planning.
Between the rolling blackouts and various water woes experienced by our neighbors to the south and even within our own county, the unprecedented nature and the yet to be known price tag should be a wakeup call.
Longterm investments into infrastructure are rarely popular. No one gets excited or expresses praise over a water pipe being replaced or new equipment being purchased by a city. Those expenditures while sometimes seeming unnecessary or having a lower priority often have the largest impact when needed the most.
But over the last week, those of us fortunate enough to not lose water, electric or gas services for an extended period of time should now know just how important those expenditures are.
Ardmore residents even more so. As the winter storm took hold and refused to let go, communities throughout the state and most of Texas were pushed to the breaking point. As water systems failed throughout the county, Ardmore’s system remained operational.
Ardmore wasn’t without its issues. Several main breaks had city employees out at all hours making emergency repairs in life-threatening conditions. Other cities weren’t so lucky, with some that continued to provide water issuing boil orders on all water coming from their taps.
Over the last few years, Ardmore has paid special attention and millions of dollars to replace, repair and update its water system. With some pipes more than 100 years old, some of which were unknown to city planners until they broke, the special attention paid off. At least for now.
Infrastructure investments are ongoing and always needed. Ardmore’s water may not always taste the best, but it was there when we needed it the most.
It could have been much worse for Ardmore, as most of our neighbors can attest.