Oklahoma City Lake Levels May Rise This Weekend

Thursday, October 13th 2011, 10:57 pm
By: News 9

Dana Hertneky, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- This weekend we may finally see more water in Lake Hefner and Lake Overholser. Water was released from Canton Lake and is headed this way.

It will help replenish what is becoming an ever decreasing drinking water supply for those in the Oklahoma City metro area.

Back in early July, city leaders told News 9 there's no need to worry about our drinking water supply. That seems to have changed.

High temperatures and little rain have proven to be a dangerous mixture out at Lake Hefner where low lake levels have created quite the mess.

"That's kind of sad, and I feel for the people that have the boats out here, I truly do," said Fred McMillan.

It's bad for boat owners who's sailboats are stuck in the mud, and fishermen like Fred. But It's worse for the City of Oklahoma City that depends on Lake Hefner and Lake Overholser for drinking water.

"It's pretty difficult, we used a lot of water this summer," said Debbie Ragan with the City of Oklahoma City.

But help is on the way and now heading down the North Canadian river. On Tuesday morning the Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water from Canton Lake. The water will hopefully raise the water level at Lake Hefner seven feet and at Lake Overholser four feet.

The water will take five days to start arriving at the lakes, two weeks for it to be complete.

"It will be a week or so before we notice a difference in the lake," said Ragan.

Ragan says the drought is predicted to continue until April. She's hoping this water will last until then.

"Hopefully if we get more rain, we're going to be in good shape," said Ragan. But when asked what happens if we don't get more rain, Ragan responded "We'll probably see if we can take water rights again, (and) we have other plans we can implement at that point."

The water release will lower Canton's level by about 5.5 feet and it will fall below the boat ramps. People in that area say they know this is part of the deal, but they're not happy about it. Those who depend on the lake for their livelihood say they will lose business.

The city is encouraging everyone to conserve water. Here are some suggestions:

Turn off sprinkler and irrigation systems or reset the frequencies.

If you're thinking of doing home improvement projects, consider installing faucets that use less water, low flow toilets and high efficiency water-using appliances.

More ways to use water wisely during a drought

• Use drought tolerant plant materials in landscaping or gardens.

• Avoid fertilizing, aerating, de-thatching, top dressing or transplanting. It's not a good idea to encourage new growth during a drought.

• Remember, brown Bermuda grass means it is dormant not dead. It's nature's way of conserving energy.

• Water plants and shrubs less frequently, but deeply and thoroughly.