Norman will start mandatory water conservation

By early next week, Norman residents will be asked to conserve water by limiting outdoor watering. The limits are needed because of the effect of drought on Lake Thunderbird.
BY JANE GLENN CANNON jcannon@opubco.com Published: January 10, 2013
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— By next week, residents will be asked to take mandatory water conservation steps, something normally reserved for the heat of summer.

An ongoing drought and Lake Thunderbird's low level reduced the city's water supply, making conservation a priority even during the winter months, city officials said.

City council members gave the go-ahead to City Manager Steve Lewis on Tuesday to institute a mandatory water conservation plan. The council discussed the move in a conference before its regular business meeting.

Utilities Director Ken Komiske said the mandate will go into effect by early next week.

The plan bans all outdoor watering or irrigation on Wednesdays and Thursdays. On other days, it bans outdoor watering or irrigation between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. and allows for “odd/even” outdoor watering based on street addresses during other hours.

The conservation steps come on the heels of a request from the executive director of Lake Thunderbird's governing body that the city cut usage from Lake Thunderbird by 10 percent.

Randy Warden, executive director of the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District, said Lake Thunderbird's level is about 7½ feet below the conservation pool level of 1,039 feet.

The lake provides drinking water for three cities, although Norman's reliance on the lake exceeds that of the other two, Warden said.

Komiske said Norman gets 66 percent of its drinking water from Lake Thunderbird, with the remainder coming from wells.

The three cities share an allocation of 21,600 acre-feet of lake water annually. Norman has 43.8 percent of the total allocation. Midwest City has a 40.4 percent allocation, and Del City's allocation is 15.8 percent.