OKLAHOMA CITY – With Oklahoma suffering through its worst drought in decades, leaders in Oklahoma City are now asking everyone to do their part to conserve water.
Starting Thursday the city kicked off a mandatory water rationing program.
The lowest lake levels in decades have forced the city to ask people to cut down on how much water they use.
There’s a lot of extra shoreline at Lake Hefner these days.
“It’s looking a little sad,” Asante Gunewardena said.
Like a lot of people, Asante uses Lake Hefner for recreation and exercise.
He’s seen water levels slowly dip to the lowest levels in decades.
“I’ve gradually noticed it receding further and further back,” Asante said.
“There’s reason for concern and to start conserving,” Oklahoma City utilities director Marsha Slaughter said.
City leaders said Lake Hefner, Lake Overholser and Lake Draper are each just over half full.
That’s why starting immediately, the city is restricting the use of outdoor watering based on the odd-even calendar.
People with odd addresses can water on odd number days and vice verse.
“What we’re asking people to do is begin water restricting as quickly as they can,” Slaughter said.
While it’s winter now, starting the water rationing plan early may get people acclimated for the upcoming spring and summer.
“You know, this is a sign of the times. It’s what happens when you get drought,” state climatologist Gary McManus said.
Unfortunately state climate experts predict this spring will be a dry one.
The drought shows no signs of easing up any time soon.
“I get asked all the time if we’re in a multi-year drought. I don’t know if we’re in the middle or the end but we are in a multi-year drought,” McManus said.
The restriction applies to every city that uses Oklahoma City water.
That includes most of the cities in the metro.