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High lake levels don’t end OKC water rationing

OKLAHOMA CITY – This week’s heavy rains brought lots of flooding and high lake levels.

State climate experts said the metro and central Oklahoma are officially no longer in a drought.

In a funny coincidence, despite all the rain this week, the city mailed out fliers on how to beat the now non-existent drought.

The goal is remind everyone that water rationing remains in effect for the foreseeable future.

Casting his line into Lake Hefner, fisherman Jerry Mccrary is thrilled to see lake levels overflowing.

“I’ve never seen it this high; it’s nice to have the water back,” Mickey Johnson said.

It’s amazing the difference six months can make. 

Lake Hefner before recent storms

Lake Hefner before recent storms

In January, lake levels were so low they had to be refilled using water from Canton Lake.

Yet despite the newly returned high lake levels, the city’s mandatory odd/even outdoor watering rationing schedule remains in place.

“It’s not going away,” Debbie Ragan said, with OKC public utilities. “It doesn’t matter how much rain we get. The new norm is watering outdoors is odd or even.”

City leaders said their real goal is to change attitudes about water conservation.

That’s something many lake users agree with.

Lake Hefner after recent storms

Lake Hefner after recent storms

“Oh yeah, I think it’s real important to conserve water,” Mccrary said.

“People ought to take care to conserve water because it’ll get low again,” Johnson said.

“We can’t predict Oklahoma weather, that’s why it’s important to use water resources wisely,” Ragan said.

If the drought returns, the city has the option of implementing even tougher restrictions.

If lake levels stay high, the city may also resume leasing the boat docks at Lake Hefner.

Those permits were canceled earlier this year.