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Study: Water conservation more effective than cloud seeding

Updated:
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- An Oklahoma Climatological Survey study has found that it would be more cost-effective to spend money on teaching the importance of water conservation than on cloud seeding.

The study was performed by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board in Oklahoma and Texas during four summer months of 2004 and 2005. Work is still being done on the study.

It showed less than a 5 percent increase in rainfall in counties where seeding took place compared to neighboring counties that received no seeding. It's one of two studies on the subject under way, with the other being conducted by the National Severe Storms Laboratory.

"The water gained by cloud seeding is very small compared to the amount citizens can save by conserving water resources," said Renee McPherson, the acting director of the state climatological survey.

Cloud seeding, a process in which silver iodide or dry ice is released into clouds from a plane, is done to increase moisture or snowpack or reduce the number and severity of hailstorms, but there has been debate among scientists about whether the practice is useful.

Charles Doswell III, a retired meteorologist for the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, said most experts believe cloud seeding is unproven.
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