Oklahoma City moving ahead with conservation measures

Changes would strengthen Oklahoma City's ability to enforce restrictions on outdoor watering.
by William Crum Published: April 15, 2013
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A paradigm shift is in the works when it comes to use — and misuse — of Oklahoma City water.

The city is poised to strengthen its ability to enforce conservation measures and set aggressive limits on watering lawns when reservoirs run low.

“I think this is going to be accepted as a positive step,” Mayor Mick Cornett said.

The Oklahoma City Council plans a public hearing Tuesday on measures requiring new lawn sprinkler systems to have shut-off valves and to raise fines on those who violate conservation orders.

Fines would range from $119 to $1,200 for repeat offenders.

The city's Water Utilities Trust is set to recommend “progressive water conservation measures” that ultimately would ban outdoor watering when reservoirs fall to 35 percent or less of capacity.

So far, there's no mention of increasing water prices.

Oklahoma City provides primary or backup water supplies to cities in central Oklahoma, potentially serving up to 1.3 million people. The city adopted odd-even restrictions on outdoor watering in January as Lake Hefner reached record low levels.

The city treats and pumps about 110 million gallons of water each day.

About 30 percent of the water used each year goes to outdoor watering, said Marsha Slaughter, the utilities director.

Proposal specifics

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by William Crum
Reporter
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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