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Water Conservation Symposium

Lawton, Okla._Public officials in Southwest Oklahoma are sounding the alarm on water conservation.

They say water sources like Waurika Lake, Lake Lawtonka, Lake Ellsworth, and even some our own ponds are extremely low.

Thursday night an official from the Waurika Lake Master Conservancy District and Lawton Public Works officials held a symposium to discuss water conservation and answer questions about what is being done.

Officials mainly focused their attention on one area lake, Waurika Lake, because it serves about a quarter of million people.

They said the lakes that supply the water to tens of thousands of homes, Waurika, Ellsworth and Lawtonka, are only about half full.

So, how worried should we be? Waurika Lake Master Conservancy District Manager Dave Taylor says extremely.

"Frankly climatologist didn't predict how long we're going to have this drought, we don't know when we're going to get out of it and we're now to the point where we're going to say how are going to look forward to the next two or three years," Taylor said.

Lawton public works Jerry Ihler says it's important to find other sources. 

"Reuse water from the wastewater treatment plant... of course everything would have to be addressed through the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality," Ihler said.

He says another possibility is researching using local aquifers and possibly drilling wells. In the meantime, Lawton Mayor Fred Fitch says the city may have to consider a stricter conservation policy.

"The more you use the higher the rate so you're paying for it. Now are you paying more, if you were using that water on the rate system we have now and not getting caught by watering on different days and everything else, you don't pay for it, but this way we get the revenue," Fitch said.

No matter the solution, officials agree, something needs to be done.

"If you look at the dust bowl years of the bottom part of the dust bowl years is about 22.8 inches of water the last two years is actually less than that already, again how much is this going to last we have no idea, what you can do is say we have to watch our water supplies and we do not want to waste water anymore," Taylor said.

Mayor Fitch says the city is coming up with a list of 100-ways to conserve they plan to put on the city website. They hope to have it listed in about a week.

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