Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Water Bullies

I know I can be a bit extreme by many people's standards.  I get a little sick feeling in my stomach if I actually use a water bottle and throw it in the trash.  I prefer to carry a REUSABLE bottle.  I carry my own shopping bags, and have even made my girls get out to help me gather trash that blew along the roadside of our little street...

But even without my extreme sense of right and wrong and natural resources, I think the majority of people if educated would be appaled at Oklahoma City's water board and their stance on water usage.

Thought you might want an updated picture of Canton Lake....please feel free to share this photo.
RIP Canton Lake.  Started by the drought.  Finished by the citizens of Oklahoma City.

The citizens of Oklahoma City should be ashamed.  While the citizens may not be directly responsible for the city council's decision to drain water out of Canton Lake, they ARE responsible for the need.

Brent read a  very apt quote.  "Just because the bully poured all of his water out on the sidewalk doesn't mean the little guy should have to hand over his."

But that is exactly what Oklahoma City has done.  And continues to do.  The state of Oklahoma is in the second highest level of drought on record.  And Oklahoma City, in the face of a warning from the state's senior climatologist that this spring has no better hope than last for rain, still fails to act responsibly.  They finally planned water rationing, in the form of odd even watering restrictions.

In January.

Because so many people water in January.

Guess what big plans they have to do if we don't get rain?

Drain an additional 20000 acre feet of water out of Lake Canton again.  Because if we don't get rain, surely Canton will.  Never mind that northwest Oklahoma has had only a fraction of the rain OKC has seen.  Never mind that Canton is in an area of the state that is KNOWN to get significantly less rainfall.

Obviously the leaders of OKC are too ignorant or selfish to plan more aggressively or *gasp* make the greater OKC citizens slightly less comfortable with their lifestyles.

Canton has been devastated and robbed of it's economy to replace the water that the residents of the OKC area foolishly wasted. 

But the good people of Edmond had beautiful yards! 

The only source of walleye fish for the state (all Oklahoma lakes are stocked with walleye from Canton) has been drained.

Photo: Top picture is Canton Lake on 2/5/13
Bottom picture is OKC on 2/6/13

When you see this going on, report it !! Let them get fined until they stop "drinking" water!
Photo credit: Gary McManus, Oklahoma's Leading Climatologist; He shot both of these photos on Feb 6, 2013. The top is Canton lake. The bottom is Oklahoma City.

Yet nearly every day that I drove to work last summer, I saw water running down the sidewalks because a careless person failed to make sure their sprinklers weren't spraying the concrete.

Here's what is even worse:  I don't think that most citizens of OKC realize how desperate the water situation is.  And they are too shortsighted to ever stop and think where their water comes from.

So, here's the rally cry I have for all citizens, whether you live in Oklahoma City, the surrounding area, the state of Oklahoma, whatever:  Start your own personal watering ration.  I know most of us consider water rationing a summer time activity when we are watering our yard, but there are things you can do every single day to be a better custodian of  our natural resources.

1.  Place large bowls in the sink when you wash dishes by hand.  Carry that water out this water your containers or flower beds.
3.  Make your shower short and efficient.  We have all sacrificed long hot showers in our house for improved water stewardship.  I have even cut down my daily soaks in a deep tub of hot water to one bath per week.

And those are all super simple solutions.  Want to really stretch your water conserving muscles?  Well, as a former queen of a  real live castle, I know all about restricting water waste!

Put small bowls in each bathroom sink.  Once the bowl is full, dump the bowl in a bucket placed handily on the floor by the counter.  Carry said bucket outside when it gets 3/4 full.   Pour this water out on your flowers, containers, bushes, trees, whatever. 

If you really want to go all super power, then simply do this:

That would be a sump pump.

And this would be a car battery...

Combine these two products, attach them to a garden hose, then run the hose through the house to the outside to drain your bath onto that newly planted tree you fear is in danger of dying!

Granted, I don't plan on doing anything this drastic...Now that I have a ridiculously expensive aerobic septic system, any water that runs down my tub is put back on the yard.

But I just felt I should give you all options I knew of.

All kidding aside, I do feel rather strongly about this.  Water is a NONRENEWABLE resource.  While I do NOT believe the planet will run out of water (we live in a closed atmosphere) I do believe that climates of specific areas can change over time.  And if this area remains in the drought we've faced the last three years, our water situation could become quite scary.  And expensive.

As surely as the national debt is every one's concern, though we may have little control over it, water usage is CERTAINLY every one's concern.  And it is something every. single. person. can contribute to.

Think about it.

P.S.  Here is a quote from Gary's facebook status after meeting with OKC's city council:

BTW, spoke about drought to the OKC city council today. Not only did they say they have plenty of water left in their lakes (then why take canton down), but they said they anticipate being able to take another 30,000 acre-feet from Canton next year, the amount of time they think it will take to accumulate that much water again.

They are at least preparing some tougher water restrictions, and one councilman was talking about making them permanent.

Something is better than nothing I guess.


Covnitkepr1 said...

Government is getting toooo big, and hard to fight.
I write a blog which I have entitled “Accordingtothebook” and I’d like to invite you to follow it. I’m your newest follower.

P.S. On your avatar...you have a really nice smile.

Paula said...

Excellent posts. The sad sad SAD pictures of what used to be Canton lake make my heart hurt. We do the stuff you mention except we don't have the high dollar aerobic septic system. We have lived in our home for 12+ years. We have a huge sprinkler system. We have NO grass except where we water by the house and that was done to help prevent damage to our foundation.

Sarah Kamolz said...

I think my largest aggravation is not only everything you said, but also, why are they taking water from the northwest part of the state and not the northeast that has more water, trees, and green stuff than any of us western people have seen!? STUPID STUPID PEOPLE!

Andi said...

Sarah-They own the water rights to Canton Lake...AND Fort Supply. This is why you see Sardis Lake on the commercials so much. The Indians are smart enough to fight them and not sacrifice their natural resources for people who have PROVEN they can't be trusted!

Anonymous said...

Such a powerful post. I think this should be sent to everyone. It just made me sick to look at these pictures. We drove passed the lake a few weeks ago. They have reconstructed the dam and much of the area around it. Millions of dollars have been spent on this project for a now empty lake. Shame on those responsible. I wonder if anyone in OKC ever had to share thier bath water? That could be a reality someday if they don't watch out. Why do the surrounding towns have to ration and they don't. Does it have too bad of an effect on their liesure activity. Seeing the "Oklahoma" river with the boats gliding up and down it makes me sick to my stomache. It will always be the Canadian to me anyhow.

Anonymous said...

I also heard that they are thinking about a large price hike for water use.

Mark Fuqua said...

www.Squeezeeverydrop.com is a great site to promote in the metro, full of ideas on how to conserve water and encourage voluntary conservation. Thank you for speaking out about such an important topic. Our communities around Canton Lake are going to be devastated by this water draw! It's a crying tragic shame! We all know they have the right to the water and no one is disputing that fact, but they haven't in the least bit been good stewards of what they have taken in the past! I am not upset with the people of OKC but those in power have failed the people of OKC terribly and really harmed many folks in NW OK with their decision to draw Canton Lake down to such an unsafe level. If you care to follow this story further please join us at www.cantonlakeinfo.com and visit our blog. Again, thanks for raising awareness to this serious issue! Mark Fuqua

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for speaking out on this issue. I grew up a mile from the lake and this situation just breaks my heart.


Anonymous said...

As someone that was born and raised in OKC now living in NW OK, I can tell you that the people of NW OK are not any more responsible with their water than anyone else on this planet. I'm sorry about the situation with the lake but you (as well as MANY of the people trashing OKC) are hypocritical. You are right in that the citizens of OKC probably are unaware of this situation. However, the people here in NW OK aren't any better. I've seen many many many people water their yards just the same...letting it flow all the way down the road all summer long. Maybe instead of calling OKC citizens stupid, we should band together and do something positive that will actually make a change.

Moreover, have any of you even seen Lake Hefner? It is pitifully low! People don't go to Lake Hefner to ride boats and fish, they drink out of it, bathe out of it, wash their clothes and dishes. Also, OKC has had water rationing EVERY summer of my entire 37 years in existence. If they are rationing in January, that is EXTRA and shows they are trying to manage the water.

Please don't paint the entire city with one brush. Thanks!

Andi said...

Anonymous: I agree. People in NW OK do waste water. And many people out their foolishly plan to depend on the Ogallala aquifer indefinitely...And from what I've read there is 25 years left of water left at the current water usage. (I can be wrong about the numbers, I'm pulling from memory here) The point is, yep they are just as guilty.

I've lived in the OKC area for 4 years. I must say that last summer while surrounding areas did have watering restrictions, OKC did not until WAY TOO LATE in the summer. The first time they drew from Canton they should have placed rationings. Yet they waited.
Also, I DO blame the citizens of OKC in the sense that they continue to run water out onto the sidewalk, and water at irresponsible hours when their ARE restrictions. I want to say educate, educate, educate, but I think we as a society have become selfish, and until something really hurts us personally, we fail to react.
So, here was my goal: Make people think. And that was accomplished.
Thanks for commenting!

Anonymous said...

Devils Lake in North Dakota is growing by the minute and overtaking the state. If they can ship oil through a pipeline from Alaska, why can't they just ship you some of that water. If I were in charge, that's what I would do. :) Loved your practicality.