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January 26, 2014

Drought could dampen spring spirits with water restrictions


Gov. Mary Fallin urged Oklahoman's to be conservative with their water use yesterday due to drought conditions. 

"We are not taking any action right now, but people should treat water like it's a precious commodity,"  Chickasha City Manager Stewart Fairburn said. 

Currently Chickasha is in the midst of extending an intake pipeline at Ft. Cobb lake to combat potential drought conditions. 

"It will take until the fall to finish that project, so we will be looking at the water level very carefully," said Fairburn. "We certainly need rain." 

Fallin's office said over 64 percent of the state is in drought, and areas south of Grady County in the Red River System have had record low lake levels. 

“Low water levels due to drought are having serious effects on our economy, and are particularly harmful to communities that rely on Oklahoma lakes for tourism and recreation,” said Fallin. “Industries as diverse as tourism, agriculture and energy are all directly affected by the state’s water supply."

Fallin said it's important for local governments and individuals to work on conserving water across the state. 

"Residents in all corners of the state have a major impact on water levels. As we examine ways to make state government more efficient in its water use, I am continuing to encourage all Oklahomans to consider common-sense water conservation," she said. "Things as simple as fixing leaks around the house and limiting the amount you water your lawn can help to preserve our reservoirs and lakes.”

As spring approaches, Fairburn said it's important for residents to check for leaks and do everything to prevent water waste. 

Fallin said she will continue to monitor lake levels and the drought across the state and work with stakeholders to take measures to reduce utilization of fresh water.  

“Oklahoma has been blessed with outstanding water resources” Fallin added. ”We must take steps now to make sure that these will be available in the future to allow our state to continue to prosper.”

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