Dry conditions continue to persist across Oklahoma with over 64% of the state in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. These drought conditions continue to impact water availability throughout the state, particularly in Southwest Oklahoma where sustained, exceptionally dry conditions have lead to record low lake levels in the Red River System. Governor Mary Fallin continues to encourage all Oklahomans to implement water conservation practices to ensure future water availability and protect the state's water resources.
"Low water levels due to drought are having serious effects on our economy, and are particularly harmful to communities that rely on Oklahoma lakes for tourism and recreation," said Fallin. "Industries as diverse as tourism, agriculture and energy are all directly affected by the state's water supply.
"It's important that the state government, municipalities and individuals do everything in their power to conserve water. Residents in all corners of the state have a major impact on water levels. As we examine ways to make state government more efficient in its water use, I am continuing to encourage all Oklahomans to consider common-sense water conservation. Things as simple as fixing leaks around the house and limiting the amount you water your lawn can help to preserve our reservoirs and lakes."
A list of conservation techniques is available at the Oklahoma Water Resources Board website.
Fallin said she will continue to monitor lake levels and the drought across the state and work with stakeholders to take measures to reduce utilization of fresh water. State agencies are working with water managers to coordinate approaches to address water challenges across the state.
"Oklahoma has been blessed with outstanding water resources" Fallin added. "We must take steps now to make sure that these will be available in the future to allow our state to continue to prosper."
Fallin has tasked Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague to work with the state's water agencies to expedite development of best practices for water reuse and recycling, a priority recommendation of the 2012 Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan. These strategies will provide additional tools to water users that allow for the state to meet its goal of using no more fresh water in 2060 than it did in 2012.