The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

August 6, 2012

Water conservation worries widespread

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID — Enid is not the only city in the state experiencing water problems. Press reports from other communities show similar conditions resulting from the two-year drought conditions.

Oklahoma City and Tulsa officials are asking for voluntary water conservation. Oklahoma City officials say some residents who live on the far edges of the city are experiencing low water pressure due to the high demand.

Tulsa officials announced similar restrictions last week. Officials say Tulsa used 207 million gallons of water in one day. The Oklahoma City and Tulsa rationing also affects a number of nearby communities that receive their water from those cities.

The Norman Transcript reported rationing orders there came last week, following those issued by Oklahoma City. Norman imposed an odd-even rationing system for both residential and commercial users. Utility customers used more than 24 million gallons a day on peak days of the week, the Transcript reported.

In Lawton, the generator that powers the city’ water treatment plant broke last week. City officials asked everyone who gets water from the city to conserve until further notice. However, it is a short-term situation. Those also affected include Comanche County Rural Water Districts, Cotton County Rural 2, the community of Geronimo, Medicine Park and the Army base at Fort Sill.

Broken Arrow officials said due to the extreme heat and drought conditions, the demand for water is taxing the city’s capacity to deliver water to customers. It issued a voluntary water conservation order following two consecutive days of record consumption.

On July 29, 26.5 million gallons were delivered; the next day, 26.4 million gallons were. Officials said July exceeded any previous month, with 700 million gallons delivered.

Edmond also issued mandatory water rationing, effective immediately, until further notice. It also followed the Oklahoma City emergency declaration. Edmond’s daily water use during summer months is 18 million to 22 million gallons per day, with an average of less than 20 million gallons per day. During several days last week, the city exceeded 23 million gallons.

However, eastern Oklahoma County residents should not see water rationing this summer because of the plentiful supply of water in Lake Thunderbird. City officials in Choctaw, Midwest City and Del City all stated they expected no problems. Midwest City Manager Guy Henson said residents would see a disruption only if service from Thunderbird occurred. Midwest City also has a 24-well system that collects its water from the Garber-Wellington aquifer.

Moore residents have been asked to voluntarily engage in water rationing on an odd-even day basis. The Norman Transcript reported outdoor watering should be limited based on customer street addresses, but hand watering is allowed on all days in Moore.

Stillwater city officials told residents to expect a citywide conservation plan to be announced soon. While water supply is not a problem for the city, distribution is. Water pressure in southwest Stillwater has been inadequate in the summer for the past two years.

Bartlesville now is in “fair” shape, officials said. Hulah Lake, its main water supply, is low, but officials said the city still can benefit from the availability of clean water from the water system.

Shawnee recently entered Level 2 water rationing. Water use is restricted to 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. Mondays for odd-numbered addresses, and Tuesdays for even-numbered addresses, according to the Shawnee News Star. Commercial businesses will be required to reduce their water usage by 10 percent as compared to the previous year. Shawnee Utilities Director Jim Bierd said the supply of water is not the problem; the capacity to treat it is.

Lingering high temperatures resulted in Ardmore residents being asked to use an even-odd water rationing system for lawns and flower beds.

This year is the first time since 2006 city officials have ordered mandatory water rationing. Officials asked residents to voluntarily conserve water in July when used hit more than 12 million gallons of water per day. However, voluntary conservation did not have a substantial impact on consumption.