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NEWS: Drought

Tulsa's Biggest Water Users Prepare To Make Sacrifices

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Parks with expensive landscaping, like Woodward Park, are trying to balance water usage while not letting the plants die. Parks with expensive landscaping, like Woodward Park, are trying to balance water usage while not letting the plants die.
During homestands, the grounds crew is limited on when they can water, because of the quick turnaround between games. During homestands, the grounds crew is limited on when they can water, because of the quick turnaround between games.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

While the city asks customers to cut back, the livelihoods of some businesses depend on outdoor watering. In fact, at least one such business is owned by the city of Tulsa.

We wanted to see the impact water rationing would have on outdoor businesses. Many of them told us they can't really cut back without hurting their product.

The Tulsa Drillers' home at ONEOK Field needs a lot of water each week to stay alive.

"Water is very important," said Tulsa Drillers spokesperson Brian Carroll. "Obviously … we've got a beautiful green playing surface, so we have to have water to keep it going.

Most of the heavy watering is done overnight, starting at midnight.

During homestands, the grounds crew is limited on when they can water, because of the quick turnaround between games.

"It's a hybrid Bermuda grass, so it doesn't require as much water as say your average lawn or a rye grass or a fescue lawn," Carroll said.

7/31/2012 Related Story: City Of Tulsa Announces Voluntary Water Restrictions

Parks with expensive landscaping, like Woodward Park, are trying to balance water usage while not letting the plants die.

The city-owned Page Belcher golf course uses treated water for outdoor watering. The city is now evaluating the cost of switching to well or pond water instead.

That will happen eventually, but not before summer is over.

Mayor Bartlett said, "We will be making those changes as we go along, but if we do have to enter into a mandatory rationing stage, we'll have very specific statements regarding that."

In the meantime, the maintenance crew waters overnight and tends to the greens early, so they beat the heat.

Back at ONEOK Field, the staff is being respectful of the city's wishes.

"We are aware of the water situation and we water as a necessity and don't overdo it, and hopefully we'll get some rain and we're not talking about this in a week," Carroll said.

We also spoke with the University of Tulsa.

Bob Shipley with TU Facilities told us they are monitoring the usage and already taking some precautions, but they can't totally stop outdoor watering when it comes to landscaping and practice fields.

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