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Businesses Get a Break With New Water Policy

LAWTON, Okla_Just five months after the city of Lawton created a new water restriction plan to combat the drought, the Council made some changes to it Tuesday night.

The policy accomplished what they wanted, as far as cutting residential use, but businesses like car washes and pool companies that rely heavily on water to provide their services are in a panic.

The original plan had no exemptions, which prompted one local business owner to speak out.

Irven McGoohan has been in the pool building business for 32 years, and he said he's never had to work around an obstacle like this. He said he understands the city is trying to survive in a time of drought, but he said it's important for them to understand water is what keeps his business, and others', afloat.

It all started when they filled up one of their model pools out front, and a call came in from the city shortly after

"They said hey, you can only fill it up from midnight to 9 in the morning, " McGoohan explained.

Mcgoohan hadn't heard any water restrictions had gone into place and admits this news sent him into shock.

His wheels started turning as he realized this was only the tip of the iceberg, and pool season was just right around the corner.

"We knew we had a lot of remodel jobs and construction jobs going on, and when you say replaster a swimming pool that plaster has to be hydrated all the time, " McGoohan said.

But he said it's not just Lawton that's thrown him for a loop. Everyone across Southwest Oklahoma is feeling the heat.

"We've had a job in Walters that we've had a hard time completing because of the water deal, we've got a job in Snyder we've had a hard time completing, " said McGoohan.

He began to hear from other business owners affected and decided to speak out. He spoke at the City Council Meeting about a month ago, and since they've asked him to meet with a conservation committee.

He said he wants to comply with the city, but he's still got to make money.

"We're trying to work with it as much as we possibly can, but where it's more detrimental to us is when we have to build something or repair something and drain the water out. " McGoohan explained.

He said all he asks is that the city takes into consideration business owners' needs, but he's aware the real fix is up to Mother Nature.

"The only thing that's going to fix the whole deal is rain and a lot of water. That's it, " said McGoohan.

McGoohan got his wish Tuesday night. The Council voted to provide that exemption for businesses like his own, and they will now be allowed to use water at all times, but only in restriction stages 1 through 3. If we reach the 4th stage, complete water prohibition, there will be no exemptions for anyone.

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