Gov. Fallin tours drought-stricken Lake Tom Steed - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Gov. Fallin tours drought-stricken Lake Tom Steed

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MOUNTAIN PARK, Okla._ Governor Mary Fallin spent the day in Kiowa County touring Lake Tom Steed, where the ongoing drought has contributed to the water being at 30 percent capacity.

More than 50 percent of Oklahoma is under extreme or exceptional drought conditions, according to the Drought Monitor.

The governor's visit Monday afternoon comes after the City of Altus received $575,000 in drought relief back in 2012. That money will be used for a new water pipeline, but the situation is so dire officials say creating even more water sources might be necessary.

“(We need to) look at what we can do in this area of the state that will help get more water, conserve water, and to help the communities and certainly the agriculture sector,” says Governor Fallin.

Lake Tom Steed serves water to 40,000 people in Altus, Frederick and Snyder. Officials say with limited rain, the reservoir could run dry by 2016. Currently, the lake is 14 feet below normal. The lack of rainfall has Altus city officials planning for the future.

“The short term goals really center around trying to get groundwater to supplement Tom Steed water,” says Duane Smith, who has been contracted by the City of Altus to come up with a plan to make sure there is a reliable water source nearby in the years to come.

City officials could approve a measure to dig wells below Lake Tom Steed in the coming months that would potentially access groundwater believed to be below the surface.

“Those are ideas that are on the table,” says Fallin. Although those ideas are only on paper now, it’s possible they could become necessary in order to keep the water flowing and businesses from sinking.

“There are many different industries that have to be able to have water to be able to function their machinery; so it's important we have the water available for that,” says the governor.

The state is working under the Water for 2060 plan, which the governor signed in 2012. That plan says Oklahoma will work to not utilize any more water in 2060 than we do now. The governor says in times of drought it will take conservation to accomplish that goal.

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