Some rural water districts are struggling to meet demand
We’ve been in the middle of Oklahoma’s hottest time for over a decade and some water districts are struggling to keep up with demand.
Water demand is high, some treatment plants cannot keep up, while others have room to spare. The city of Tulsa got very thirsty, pumping out more water in a single day than it has seen in years.
To put that into perspective, a typical peak is around 150 to 160 million gallons, but Eric Lee, water and wastewater department operations manager, says there’s no reason to s ‘worry.
“We’re pumping about 100 million gallons a day on average. The highest we’ve had so far this summer is 170 million gallons on Saturday,” he said. “Our peak is 210 million gallons, so we haven’t come close to our peak, we’re in good shape right now.”
Tulsa draws its water from Lakes Spavinaw, Eucha, and Oologah, but the city of Muskogee draws only from Fort Gibson. All four levels of the lake are good, but Muskogee’s demand pushes the limit. Treatment plant superintendent Keith Lumpkins says they are pumping 20.5 million gallons a day, just half a million less than their maximum.
“If the lake level goes down, that number also goes down,” he said.
Luckily for Muskogee and Tulsa, their supply lake levels are holding up and both cities are pumping and storing enough water to meet demand, but it’s always a good idea to try to conserve water.
“We don’t know how long this dry weather is going to last, so we’ll just take it week by week,” he said.
Tulsa hasn’t asked for any voluntary water conservation, but the city of Muskogee, as well as Rural Water Districts 3 and 4, have — and several others are closing in.