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 Published: January 10, 2013

Midwest City and Del City do not use the full amount allocated to them each year, but Norman does. In fact, Komiske said, Norman has exceeded its allocation in 10 of the past 12 years.

A 10 percent reduction in use translates to a need for a 5-gallon-per-person savings each day, Komiske said.

While water demand in the winter is not high, the reduction in supply means the situation could worsen once warm weather arrives, Komiske said. Predictions are that a drought could persist or intensify over the next two or three years, he said.

In theory, Komiske said, “water saved now would be there for use when summer arrives, but that depends on whether the lake level continues to fall due to the drought.”

Warden said further reductions could be ordered if the lake level continues to drop.

Tips to cut usage

Besides limiting outdoor watering, residents can take steps to help cut usage, Komiske said.

He recommends that residents do one less laundry load a week; reduce shower time by one to two minutes; turn off the faucet while shaving or brushing teeth; and take advantage of gray water. Gray water is water left over from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing and bathing that is safe for reuse in irrigation activities such as watering flower beds.

Conserving water is the right thing to do whether it is mandatory or not, Komiske said.

“I tell anyone who talks to me about it that odd/even watering is the way to go. It builds a stronger root system than daily watering, and it saves water,” he said.