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Canton Lake residents praying for rain, asking Oklahoma City to conserve

CANTON, Okla. – When the Army Corps of Engineers started releasing 30,000 acre feet of water from Canton Lake last January to supply the water needs of Oklahoma City, one local business owner saw a different picture.

“Looked like the economy going down the river,” Alan Cox said, owner of the Overlook Cafe.

He claims his restaurant, which actually overlooks the lake, suffered a 75 percent loss in revenue last year because of a lack of tourism.

Canton Lake officials said the lake is currently 12.5 feet below normal levels.

Residents said other levels were down too last year, as a result.

Camping interest around the lake was a third of the previous year.

Tom Adams, a board member with the Canton Lake Association, said the local economy is in the exact same situation as 2013.

Only this time, residents will pray for rain and hope Oklahoma City residents will adhere to conservation efforts as well.

Oklahoma City is currently under Stage 1 water conservation restrictions, which is mandatory odd/even watering.

If your address ends with an even number, you can water on even-numbered calendar days and the same for even days.

The Oklahoma City Utilities Department has an enforcement team that will fine residents if they don’t follow mandatory water conservation efforts.

Counting court costs, a first offense could result in a $202 fine.

A second offense would cost someone $352 and from there, the escalating fines would be $602 and $1,200, according to city officials.

Members of the Canton Lake Association said Oklahoma City needs to improve its conservation practices even beyond this current drought.