The drought across Oklahoma that began in the fall of 2010 continues to have effects across the state.
Low lake levels in Washington County have the led the city of Bartlesville to encourage people to conserve water.
“We are under voluntary restrictions right now and users have been very diligent in their efforts,” said the Director of Engineering and Water Utilities for Bartlesville, Terry Lauritsen.
Lauritsen tells FOX23 the voluntary restriction is a proactive effort by the city and community to avoid more restrictive water rationing in the future.
“We are asking them to be prudent in their use of water and to make use of the resource that is starting to become more limited,” said Lauritsen, “We are under fifty percent as far as our water storage.”
Water conservation efforts in Bartlesville are yielding progress. Lauritsen says since the conservation effort began, water usage has dropped from the previous 5 million gallons a day to 4.75 million gallons a day.
“It’s shown some benefit already and we are hopeful that it will continue,” said Lauritsen.
Jim Harris is a resident of Bartlesville and he tells FOX23 he is hyper aware of the water supply every time he turns on a faucet or brushes his teeth.
“We watch our water usage,” says Harris, “We’ve got to and everyone in town is going to have to.”
Harris has seen how the drought can affect the area. The proof shows in his yard and on the side of his house. Harris says he has had multiple azalea bushes die, and a maple tree he planted is also in poor condition.”
“I have cracks in the brick of my home where the foundation is starting to pull away,” said Harris.
Harris says he is trying to aid the city in the efforts to conserve water. He says he now takes shorter showers and turns the water off when he is brushing his teeth.
Lauritsen says the small efforts by the community add up and he hopes citizens continue in their efforts to conserve.
“It’s things I think that most people do but just be more conscious of it,” said Lauritsen.
Additional information on water-saving advice have been posted on the city’s website
and is included in monthly utility bills.