Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Altus Issues Emergency Water Restrictions as Reservoir Levels Drop

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The Tom Steed Reservoir, which supplies Altus in southwestern Oklahoma, dropped to 32 percent full on May 1.

Emergency conservation orders have been issued in Altus, a drought-ravaged city in southwestern Oklahoma.

While spring rains have improved statewide drought conditions, many parts of the state are still suffering, data from the U.S. Drought Monitor show.

To put the geographic disparity into perspective: Oklahoma City had more rain in April than Altus has received all year, The Oklahoman’s Adam Kemp reports:

Under Stage 3 regulations, customers are asked to restrict outside watering to one day a week between midnight and 5 a.m. for automatic or underground sprinkler systems, and from 8 p.m. to midnight for aboveground systems. There is also no filling of empty swimming pools, except after repairs, and car washing is limited to once a week.

Altus’ primary water supply, the Tom Steed Reservoir, was less than 32 percent full on May 1, the paper reports.

Local farmers haven’t been able to irrigate crops for two years, and the manager of a local golf course says his greens — and his income — are on the brink of evaporating. And more water restrictions could be coming, Craig Tockey, the facilities and recreation supervisor for Altus tells The Oklahoman:

Tockey said city officials will continue to seek other ways of getting water to Altus, but for now everyone will have to make due.

“At this rate, you’re looking at about three years left worth of water in the reservoir,” he said.

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