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September 4, 2013

Stage 3 water rationing possible, Vaughn says

DUNCAN — Although water demand has been down at the Duncan lakes, the city of Duncan could be heading toward Stage 3 water rationing.

Since May 9, Duncan residents have been under Stage 2 rationing, which allows for watering every other day during the hours of midnight to 9 a.m. The city entered this stage after water levels at Lake Fuqua and Lake Humphreys dropped below 60 percent.

On Tuesday, water levels at those two lakes were at 52 percent. Waurika Lake, which is Duncan’s primary water supply, was at 47 percent on Aug. 31. Public Works Director Scott Vaughn said city ordinance stipulates the need for Stage 3 water rationing, which only allows for watering one day out of the week, if Lake Fuqua and Lake Humphreys drop below 50 percent.

“It is entirely possible we will go to Stage 3,” Vaughn said. “Our situation is dire.”

Duncan is sure to receive more rain sometime. But, after drought conditions that have persisted for two years, he said it would take quite a bit of rain to rectify the situation.

Vaughn said Lawton was in a similar situation, but two heavy rainfalls this year brought the city out of their drought and filled its lakes. He said the city is working to maintain its water supply by instituting water restrictions.

July provided a significant amount of rainfall, he said, but the rain wasn’t enough to boost the lake levels significantly. Vaughn said July was unseasonably wet, which might have something to do with a decline in water demand.

The July water demand for average daily usage was 4,612,700 gallons, which Vaughn said was lower than the normal demand for water during that time of year. He said usually, the demand is about 8 million gallons.

He said the water restriction also helped to curve the demand.

“I think most people are complying,” Vaughn said. “The citizens are to be commended. It’s keeping our demand down.”

The water rationing is intended to preserve the water supply, Vaughn said. But to get away from the need for water rationing, he said the City of Duncan needs more precipitation.

“We still need the rain,” Vaughn said. “That’s the bottom line.”

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