Lawton enters Stage 3 water restrictions for the first time - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Lawton enters Stage 3 water restrictions for the first time

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LAWTON, Okla._For the first time ever, the City of Lawton will enforce Stage 3 water restrictions on its residents.

The historic announcement comes after a lack of rain and high temperatures have dropped the combined usable water level at lakes Lawtonka, Ellsworth, and Waurika below fifty percent. Under Stage 3, outside watering will only be permitted twice a week until the water level moves back above 50 percent.

Right now, Lawton is sitting just under the 50 percent usable water mark at 49.56. That's at no fault of residents. Since March, officials said Stage 2 restrictions have worked well but Lawton has only received 8.5 inches of rain this year. Even the recent rain we received was just too little, too late.

"We're hoping the weather pattern will change and we won't have as bad of a year as 2011, but we have to prepare for that," said Afsaneh Jabbar, assistant director of water.

Jabbar compares 2014 to just three years ago when Oklahoma experienced one of the worst droughts on record.

"Since I have been here, 2011 has been the worst year. I think we got about thirteen inches of rain that year," said Jabbar.

Now Lawton is dangerously close to reaching that level again, but this time Lake Lawtonka, Lake Ellsworth and even Waurika Lake are all losing capacity quickly and at the same time.

"We realized we better put our restriction based on all reservoirs, not just one,” said Jabbar.

Up until now, under Stage 2, residents have been able to water every other day. Now under Stage 3, watering is restricted to Wednesdays and Saturdays between midnight and 9:00 a.m. And the city has tough penalties for those who don't comply. The first offense can result in a $750 fine.

It's a sacrifice that goes into effect immediately. Though it may be an inconvenience, the city says conservation efforts today are the key to Lawton's future.

"It will extend the number of years we have water supply in case it doesn't rain," explained Jabbar.

Starting November 1, outdoor watering times move to the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Under the Stage 3 emergency, businesses like car washes and nurseries will be exempt from the restrictions.

 

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