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May 28, 2014

Waurika Lake water timeline adjusted

DUNCAN — A less gloomy outlook for Duncan’s future water supply was delivered Tuesday by the city’s public works director, who said there’s enough water in Waurika Lake to last through January 2016.

   Scott Vaughn told the City Council that’s better than a previous projection that predicted Waurika Lake’s water would last until mid-2015.

  Of course, it’s not all good news. It never is during a drought, it seems.

   Vaughn, the city’s public works director, said rainfall for the year remains about 5 inches below normal, despite a “little bit wetter than normal” April.

  In addition, he noted that the Waurika Lake conservation pool is at 38.5 percent capacity, low enough to warrant more stringent rationing measures in Duncan under an ordinance approved by the City Council in March 2013.

   But the words “Stage 4 rationing” were not uttered during the water discussion at the City Council’s regular meeting on Tuesday evening.

    Stage 4 rationing would curtail all outdoor water uses. Stage 3 rationing, which has been in place the past 14 months, restricts outdoor water usage but allows lawn and plant watering on Wednesdays and Saturdays from midnight to 9 a.m.

   The longer timeline for Waurika Lake’s water supply is due partly to a change in the measurement of the reservoir’s evaporation rate, said David Taylor, district manager for the Waurika Lake Master Conservancy.

  Conservation measures by Duncan, Lawton and the four other jurisdictions that receive water from Waurika Lake also are having a positive effect, Taylor said.

    He noted that projections of the lake’s future water supply are contingent on rainfall.

   While everyone was happy to hear Duncan received nearly an inch of rain on Tuesday during a sudden but brief cloudburst, Taylor said that type of rainfall does nothing to raise water levels in area reservoirs.

   What’s needed, he said, is a stready rainfall of three to four days that will produce enough water to create runoff that will flow into the lakes.

   The Waurika Lake Master Conservancy board, which met on Tuesday, is still mulling its options on how to deal with the buildup of silt that has collected around the lake’s pumphouse.

     The plan remains to remove the silt from the lake, but questions remain regarding what type of technologies will be used, Taylor said.

   “While we’re dredging it, we still want to be drawing water from it,” Taylor said.


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Duncan mayor Gene Brown and vice mayor Dr. Mike Nelson share a comedic moment during Tuesday night's city council meeting.