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June 6, 2014

Water rationing citations still being issued while lake levels dropping

DUNCAN — Residents who disobey the City of Duncan’s water restriction are being issued citations, Mayor Gene Brown said Thursday, but he assured an audience at the Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry community breakfast the city is taking action to insure a long-term water supply in the midst of the ongoing drought.

The City of Duncan remains under Stage 3 water restrictions, which permits outdoor watering only between midnight and 9 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. If the city invokes Stage 4 water restriction, no outdoor watering will be allowed.

So far, the city has declined to move to Stage 4 rationing, even though an ordinance passed by the City Council in March 2013 states that Stage 4 rationing will be declared when the water level at either Waurika Lake or Lake Humpreys drops below 40 percent capacity.

Waurika Lake dipped below 40 percent nearly a month ago. The lake’s water level  stood at 37.99 percent on Thursday, according to data supplied by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake was at 38.6 percent capacity on May 24, the data shows.

Lake Humphreys, however, was at 47 percent percent capacity on May 27 while Lake Fuqua was at 41 percent.

Scott Vaughn, public works director for the city, told City Council at its last meeting that projections show Waurika Lake can provide water through January 2016 while Humphreys contains slightly more than a year’s supply at current usage rates while Fuqua has more than three years capacity at current peak pumping capacity.

Brown said the city is working on a project to tie Lake Humphreys and Lake Fuqua together. Through the project, the city will have a fall back water supply if Waurika Lake, Duncan’s primary water source, is no longer viable.

“That will provide a three-year water supply,” he said of the Humphreys/Fuqua project.

While drought conditions have been ongoing for several years, Brown said many people can’t comprehend the significant impact the drought has made.

Water rationing will continue until Duncan receives enough rainfall to make a significant increase in the lake water levels.

“We still need rain,” Brown said. “Pray for rain.”

Other items discussed during the breakfast included:

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