Drought Disaster May Influence OKC Policy Changes To Stave Off Water Woes

Thursday, January 10th 2013, 6:15 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

This week's rain was not the drought buster we had hoped for. That means Oklahoma City leaders will now have to make some tough decisions to make sure we continue to have a water supply.

OKC's water problems are most evident at Lake Hefner, where water levels are now lower than back in 1976 when the city first started keeping records.

Mike Hahn has been a member of the Oklahoma City Boat Club for 23 years.

"Never saw it like this," he said Thursday.

10/9/2013 Related Story: Drought Leads To ‘Natural Disaster' Declaration For Nearly Every Oklahoma County

Lake Hefner is one of six water supply lakes for the city of Oklahoma City. It would take a hard rain that produces runoff to ease the drought. Without it, those in the water department will have to do something. The city is considering a water release from Lake Canton, like they did last year.

"It's an option and we use it when we need it to replenish our drinking water supply," said Debbie Ragan with the water department. "We don't take water from Lake Canton for recreation."

They are already also increasing education efforts on water conservation. And if the situation doesn't get better by spring, mandatory water rationing may be on tap for next summer.

Regan says they are still hoping for a wet spring, but that was the case last year too.

"I didn't think anyone ever expected it to last like this," said Hahn. "We've had periotic droughts, but never two years in a row"

In Norman the city will begin implementing mandatory water conservation beginning next week.