Altus water conservation restrictions start Wednesday

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 10:23 PM CDT
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ALTUS, Okla. (KSWO) - The City of Altus will impose water conservation restrictions due to drought conditions, starting Wednesday.

City management made the announcement at Tuesday evening’s city council meeting.

Until water levels increase at Tom Steed Reservoir, Altus residents will need to limit water use.

Altus relies heavily on Tom Steed Reservoir as a primary water source. Drought conditions are continuing there, forcing the city to impose restrictions on water use.

Communications and Special Projects Coordinator Chris Riffle said they’re not heavily concerned yet, but the city is being cautious.

“Tom Steed Reservoir has dipped just below 60 percent right now,” Riffle said. “We haven’t seen that in a long time and that did set a trigger to allow us to go ahead and move to a higher conservation stage for water.”

Outdoor watering will be limited to twice a week at certain times of the day, and pressure washing of buildings, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, or patios is prohibited.

Riffle: “Conservation does become more important as you diminish your replenishment, and we’re looking at the front end of that stage right now Historically, it does start to rain a bit in the fall and hopefully we get some winter precipitation and make it on through spring.”

The restrictions come just weeks after some Altus residents told 7News their water was turning yellow or brown due to higher than usual levels of manganese -- an issue City Manager Gary Jones said is resolved.

“The water quality now is great, but we have multiple things we’re doing,” Jones said. “Actually, when we complete the reservoir, this will be a backup water supply, so whenever we do have bad water coming from Tom Steed that’s hard to treat, we can turn around and start using water out of here in the meantime so we can avoid those situations.”

Riffle said the city’s suffered through worse droughts, but people who live there still need to be mindful of how much water they’re using.

“It is really important for people to just be responsible with water use,” Riffle said. “Don’t waste it, you know. If you think of it, if you think you’re wasting water or you’re thinking you could use less water, then just do so.”

Residents will also see a notice in utility bills.

Altus city management announced water restrictions at the council meeting on Tuesday night.
Altus city management announced water restrictions at the council meeting on Tuesday night.(kswo)