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Okmulgee County Urges Residents To Limit Water Usage

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The water tower for Rural Water District 6 in Okmulgee County. The water tower for Rural Water District 6 in Okmulgee County.
Residents are urged not to water their lawns. Residents are urged not to water their lawns.
George Polecat, an Okmulgee County resident. George Polecat, an Okmulgee County resident.

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

OKMULGEE COUNTY -- More rural water districts are sweating to keep up with demand this hot, dry summer. On Tuesday, Okmulgee County began asking customers to conserve water in its Sixth District.

It's a voluntary water conservation, but could become mandatory if its 3,300 customers don't start cutting back

"Our summers past, we've never had that problem. You can see my grass is already dead," George Polecat, an Okmulgee County resident, said.

Glen Shoaf says the district hasn't been in a bind like this since 1986.

"It's a losing situation right now," Shoaf said. "We're catching up a little bit because we're catching more and more people watering; they are shutting it off and its helping.

But if they don't see bigger improvements, water rationing is inevitable. The towers are already lower than they should be.

"If they're not full, we have no pressure. People on the high end have no water and it's a trickle down process to people on the low end getting their water, too," Shoaf said.

For the next two months, the district wants customers to stop running sprinklers on the lawns, watering gardens and filling up pools.

 "With the drought and the heat, green grass and car washing is not an option," Shoaf said.

Polecat says now that he knows, conserving water shouldn't be hard for his family.

"I don't water my lawn, its okay with me if it doesn't grow. It keeps me from cutting it," he said, laughing.

7/7/2011 Related Story: Rural Oklahoma Communities Face Water Shortages

The other half of the water conservation is *inside* the home. The district is asking customers to take shorter showers and baths and not to run dish or clothing cycles unless it's a full load.

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