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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

Conservation proposals would:

• Make odd-even watering restrictions mandatory whenever reservoirs fall to 70 percent or less of capacity or when the long-range drought forecast is negative.

• Limit lawn watering to two days per week when reservoir levels reach 50 percent.

• Limit watering to one day per week when reservoirs levels reach 45 percent.

• Permit only hand watering of gardens and flower beds, and commercial car washes that recycle water, at 40 percent of capacity.

• Ban outdoor watering at 35 percent.

Drought levels

Despite spring rains, last week's U.S. Drought Monitor showed 85 percent of Oklahoma in moderate to exceptional drought. The same figure a year ago was 19 percent.

“We are trying to change the way people think about using water,” said Pete White, a city council member and chairman of the Water Utilities Trust.

At last week's city council meeting, White said council members who 50 years ago approved the Atoka pipeline to bring water from southeast Oklahoma were turned out of office by voters.

“We stand on the shoulders of people who had that kind of political courage,” he said.