The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

March 24, 2013

Small-town residents learn to cope with little water


Conserving at home

In Yale, some residents say they are doing their part to conserve water.

Nancy and Don Griffin refused to plant flowers this fall, have watched two trees die in their yard, and water trees and plants from the rainwater barrels. In the house, they only wash large loads of clothes and recycle water whenever possible. They flush toilets as little as necessary.

“Do you want water in the tap, or do you want beautiful trees?” Nancy Griffin said. “It’s just the choices we have to make right now.”

Hensley, the water association board member, said he refuses to wash his vehicle in town, reuses dishwater and has let his lawn turn brown.

“We had a tree we planted 50 years ago die on us,” Hensley said. “We lost a great shade tree, but we’re just trying to do our part.”

In Glencoe, longtime resident and town clerk Shelly Andrews took a similar approach about three years ago.

 “We lost a lot of outdoor plants. We turn off the faucets whenever we’re brushing our teeth or washing our hands,” she said. “Whenever I clean out the dog’s water bowl, I always dump the dirty water into a plant vase.”

To the northwest, in Morrison, the drought offers a far different experience. It is largely an afterthought.

“I’m proud to say we were prepared,” said Rick McSwain, a lifelong resident and longtime bank president. “The last time we went through a drought with Lone Chimney (Lake), we tapped into Rural Water District No. 2 — water straight from Stillwater. A few months ago, when things started to get real bad, we just switched on the valve and tapped into essentially Stillwater’s water. We have plenty of water.”

The town also replaced its antiquated water lines for its 756 residents. The $1.1 million project saved roughly 500,000 gallons of water alone from leaks, McSwain noted.

“We’re all conserving water,” McSwain said. However, he also acknowledged, “To be honest, I doubt people around here are doing anything different than they normally would with their water usage.”  

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