Claremore Daily Progress


July 23, 2011

Water supplies mostly OK

CLAREMORE — Most Rogers County water suppliers — including Claremore — are meeting increased demand even as the unusually stubborn heat tests their equipment.

Rural Water District 3 in eastern Owasso, Tacora Hills and Foyil is the only major water district that has ordered water rationing, reporting last week that water pressure for some had been cut in half.

Suppliers in other areas report few problems, although they urge conservation.

“Of course, our water is not coming from a huge reservoir so that’s kind of a concern right now,” said Mike Cahalen, project manager for Severn Trent Environment Services, Inc., which manages Claremore city water.

“Our pumping and holding capacity is limited so everybody does need to conserve a little bit.”

He said Claremore is producing nearly 5 million gallons daily but reached its capacity of 6 million gallons in peak hours last week, straining pipes.

“The problem with that … is it starts putting a stress on our distribution system — the pipes in the ground,” he said. “You increase pressure in pipes and you start breaking lines.”

Rural Water District 4 in Oologah and Talala is asking residents to avoid watering plants from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. so the system can pump more efficiently to its furthest customers.

“We’re doing fine,” district Director Julie Hendrix said. “The only problem that we do have … are the higher elevations on the outskirts of our district.”

District managers say water customers in Catoosa, Chelsea, Inola, Sequoyah, Tiawah and Verdigris can expect normal water pressure for the foreseeable future.

“Unless we have a failure within the system — pumps, lines, or something like that — we do not anticipate having to ration,” said Rural Water District 5 Manager Steve Dunavant, whose district covers Catoosa and Verdigris. “I would encourage any of Rural Water District 5’s customers to use good common sense with outdoor watering.

“We still have water available but we don’t like to see sprinklers unattended where it’s running down ditches and being wasted.”

Managers at Mayes County rural water districts 2 and 5 said they are having no problem pumping water to customers in Inola and Chelsea.

“We’ve got no real issues right now,” Mayes County Rural Water District 2 Manager Jerry O’Bannon said. “Everybody’s using lots of water but I’ve had no low pressure calls form everyone. We don’t have to boost any to get to Inola.”

In Claremore, equipment upgrades have helped cope with more demand.

“It is a little easier to produce water and the city is in the process of building new pump station west of town,” Cahalen said.

The heat, if it sticks around, may hurt the source of Claremore’s water — Claremore Lake — more than the city’s ability to distribute water, he said.

“We’re watching the level and it’s held steady, gone down a few feet,” he said. “A little rain wouldn’t hurt.”

Rural Water District 3 emailed 3,500 customers last Wednesday ordering them to stop watering plants and washing cars on certain days. The remaining customers were set to receive the notice with their bills this week.

The district wants customers to limit “non-essential” watering to three days a week. That includes landscaping, yards, trees, gardens, car washing and pools, according to the email.

Non-essential watering for every customer is banned Sundays.

It’s also banned Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for those west of North 177th Avenue — or eastern Owasso — and between NS 4150 Road and the Verdigris River, or an area north of Claremore.

The schedule is Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for those east of North 177th East Avenue and west of the Verdigris River — the Keetonville Hill area — and east of NS 4150 Road, or the Foyil area.

As of Friday, Claremore has had 30 straight days of temperatures 90 degrees or higher and a total 13 days of 100 degrees or higher.

Forecasters predicted Friday that 100-degree days could continue through August.

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