Waurika Hopes Voluntary Water Conservation is Enough

- As Wichita Falls nears the stage 4 water restrictions, residents of an Oklahoma town are trying to preserve their lake water by voluntary measures only.

Lake Waurika is down to 44% capacity,  but even though that's better than lakes Kickapoo and Arrowhead, residents in Waurika are still volunteering to cut back on their water use.

Residents of Waurika have cut back their water consumption by 20 percent this year, all by volunteering to do things like washing full loads of laundry and fewer loads of dishes, the success of the voluntary measures have city officials questioning if mandatory restriction will ever be necessary.

Waurika officials feel like they are in a good position when it comes to riding out the drought but they also know the several other cites need water too.

“The other cities, Duncan, Lawton, Commanche, Temple, Walters, those people are our neighbors and we need to do the best we can to help them out as much as we can, so yes I think everybody is on board with it,” says Waurika City Manager Chuck Brown.

And while they are not approaching a critical stage like Wichita Falls lake users are,  the drop in the level has put a dent in recreational business at the lake.

“You don't get as much out there and that translates into to not as much traffic coming through Waurika but our sales tax revenues have been pretty steady,” says Brown.

But if the lake keeps falling,  the economic impact will eventually be felt by the city in lower revenue from wholesale water sales.

“It's one of our main sources of revenue, so that impact us, especially if we had to go to stage three or stage four restrictions that would severely impact us and that impacts your bottom line,” says Brown.

So for now the city continues to monitor the situation at the lake, working closely with the Army Corp of Engineers, which predicts if things stay the same, and no rain comes, the lake will dry up in a year and a half.

Brown says they will look into creating stage one restrictions if the lakes falls to 35% capacity.

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