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Water hogs

Who are the city’s biggest water users?

Clifton Adcock October 19th, 2011

This year has been a hard one for Oklahoma City’s water supply.

This summer, the city implemented mandatory rationing after water pressure levels dropped, and a nearly statewide drought also has caused some of the reservoirs to drop.

On Oct. 11, the city announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was releasing 30,000 acre-feet of water from Canton Lake into the North Canadian River to increase the city’s drinking water supply captured by Lakes Hefner and Overholser.

While the city is trying to keep up on drinking water, it is also trying to get additional water supplies from southeastern Oklahoma — a move being fought by interests and politicians in that part of the state.

So who are the city’s biggest water users?

Oklahoma Gazette requested the top 10 water usage accounts for both commercial and residential properties.

At first blush, the top user of water in the city from September 2010 to August 2011 may seem surprising: the Federal Aviation Administration’s Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, located at 6500 S. MacArthur Blvd.

According to city records, the location — listed as the top commercial property user of water — used 191 mil lion gallons of water during the year, but was billed for 82 million.

right, Federal Aviation Administration’s Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center

The next closest was Earlywine Park Golf Course, 11600 S. Portland Ave., which used 143,705,000 gallons.

Roland Herwig, the FAA MMAC’s spokesman, disputed the amount of water used, and said the center’s records show that closer to 76 million gallons were used between October 2010 and September 2011, which is the federal fiscal year and could account for a small difference between the 82 million gallons billed by the city and the 76 million gallons recorded by the FAA.

The remainder of the amount is water that is not billed to the FAA, but that flows through the location going toward the Federal Bureau of Prison’s Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City and the Air National Guard.

The FAA is under federal mandate to reduce water consumption yearly, and the amount of water used is tracked weekly, Herwig said.

“We have (and brag about) environmental mandates to reduce consumption by 2 percent per year since 2007. And we’re certified to a very high manage-ment standard for monitoring and managing all this,” Herwig said. “We take environmental stewardship very seriously.”

Debbie Ragan, public information officer for the city’s utilities department, said the FAA was only billed for 82 million gallons used during that period, but the total amount used by the entire FAA complex was 191 million.

Also appearing on the list are two natural gas cogeneration stations (PowerSmith Cogeneration and Veolia Energy), two golf courses (Earlywine and Lincoln Park), two hospitals (Mercy Health Center and Integris Baptist Medical Center), the Great Plains Coca- Cola Bottling Co. and Lopez Foods Inc.

Steve Carson is head golf professional and manager of the Lincoln Park course. Carson, who is also familiar with the operations of Earlywine, said both courses are larger than most others in the city — 36 holes each.

Although the golf course is large and requires lots of water to keep it green, Carson said both courses try to conserve water as much as possible using advanced irrigation techniques and taking care not to overwater the fairways and greens.

“It’s kind of a fine line we walk with them,” Carson said.

Although the drought (see related story Page 21) took its toll on the courses, both properties adhered to the city’s water rationing schedule when it was implemented during the summer, Carson said.

In terms of residential water usage, the top user was a residence owned by Stephen and Tina Dobson at 14200 Gaillardia Lane.

The gated Gaillardia neighborhood, an upscale housing addition located in northwest Oklahoma City, takes four of the top 10 spots of residential water usage for the period.

Stephen T. and Tina J. Dobson, 14200 Gaillardia Lane — 3,154,000 gallons

James E. Williams, 14500 Gaillardia Lane — 2,660,000 gallons

The Hill at Bricktown, 205 N. Geary Ave. — 2,633,000 gallons

Naresh Patel, 4920 Gaillardia Circle — 2,601,000 gallons

Randall A. and Rebecca K. Carter, 14300 Thornhill Drive — 2,257,000 gallons

NW Passage Estates, 10002 W. Hefner Road — 2,252,000 gallons

David and Brenda Stanley, 5001 Gaillardia Circle — 2,114,000 gallons

Rodney and Shauna Timms 7515 S.W. 119th St. — 2,105,000 gallons

Clyde Riggs Construction 2420 N.E. 131st Place — 2,094,000 gallons

John D. Randolph, 436 N.W. 14th St. — 1,994,000 gallons

FAA MMAC, 6500 S. MacArthur Blvd. — 191,000,000 gallons

Earlywine Park Golf Course, 11600 S. Portland Ave. — 143,705,000 gallons

PowerSmith Cogeneration, 2308 S. Council Road — 118,970,000 gallons

Lopez Foods, 9500 N.W. Fourth St. — 105,822,000 gallons

Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 227 N. Quapah Ave. — 93,608,000 gallons

Veolia Energy, 1 N. E.K. Gaylord Blvd. — 92,885,000 gallons

Oklahoma County Detention Center, 201 N. Shartel — 79,890,000 gallons

Mercy Health Center, 4300 W. Memorial Road — 77,673,000 gallons

Integris Baptist Medical Center, 3300 Northwest Expressway — 77,132,000 gallons

Lincoln Park Golf Course, 4001 N.E. Grand Blvd. — 73,758,000 gallons

Source: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County records

Photo by Mark Hancock

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10.20.2011 at 03:11 Reply

If you are going to write an article like this you better get all the facts and throw everyone under the bus.  How about a comparison of Nichols Hills to the rest of Oklahoma City?  They pull water straight from the Garber Wellington aquifer right under our feet.  Those lawns did not get rain just like the rest of us yet somehow they stayed perfectly green all summer.  I am sure Chesapeake's water usage for their pristine, non-drought tolerant grass is astounding.  Chesapeake more than likely has a meter per business unit or building.  Adding those quantities might short circuit the brain of a Journalist. Then again, I guess you should not slap the hand of your sponsors.  It is the exact same thing with the OU Medical center.  You cannot tell me that entire campus uses less than 77Mgal of water annually.  While we are at it….throw Tinker Air Force Base into the mix.  It is a huge campus. Are you lumping that facility all in as one meter or are they on Midwest City water therefore excluded? Where does Midwest City get their water? Is it also Oklahoma City water?  According to the text part of your article the FAA should be 8th on the list behind the Air National Guard and the Federal Transfer facility. As mentioned before, I guess Journalists cannot add or in this case…subtract.  If you are going to compare water usage of commercial facilities you should take into consideration the population, usage, type of facility (campus versus individual building) and the square footage of the facilities.  You cannot compare campuses with multiple buildings with parks/golf courses, power generation facilities and individual commercial buildings. You should also discuss what, if anything, these facilities are doing to reduce consumption and conserve water, if they are not then why not.


On the other hand, the article’s point was not missed.  We all need to do water conservation right now.  There is less than 1% of the earth's water that is potable and we are using it up at alarming rates most of which gets flushed or thrown on the ground.


10.26.2011 at 10:40 Reply

I'm not totally disagreeing with you, but did you happen to see Tinker Air Force Base this summer? Their grass was obviously not as taken care of as usual. I could tell they were water conserving and the housing association always encourages on-base residents to conserve water - drought or not. Also I could be wrong, but I do believe Midwest City and TAFB get their water from private wells and Lake Stanley Draper, not sure if those qualify as Oklahoma City limits or not...


10.27.2011 at 06:21

First off am not trying to bad mouth apologies if it was taken that way.  Standley Draper, Hefner, Overholser, Atoka, Canton and several other lakes are owned by Oklahoma City, The City of Midwest City purchases water from Oklahoma City along with produces from their own wells.  I have been to Tinker, Fort Sill, Vance AFB and Altus this past summer....all were dried up and look like junk...landscaping wise.  The same went for the FAA.  All Federal facilities are required to adhere to Executive Order 13514 requirng a 1/3 reduction of energy and water usage by 2015.  All the above mentioned facilities are doing a great job adhereing to that policy and trying to conserve water.  That is why I state the "journalist" should have asked what if anything these facilities are doing to conserve water and if not, then why.  These are all large federal facilities that employ thousands of people.  I do not see any Executive Order mandating reduction of water usage for private commercial operations nor could there be one.

I am bad mouthing this article.  For this "journalist" to spot light the FAA and put them at the top of the list is not only wrong but false. You cannot compare a facility that has 3500 employees over 120 buildings to Earlywine Golf Course or PowerSmith Cogen. They are all totally different operations with different employee levels, different building infrastructures and different metering systems.


10.27.2011 at 06:36

Sheesh...sorry for the typos.  Its still too early. 


10.27.2011 at 07:32

That you keep putting the word journalist in quotes is so demeaning. Did you miss the line on that list that said "SOURCE?" The journalist (no quotes) obviously didn't make up the list. Your argument is not with him.


10.27.2011 at 10:11

I did not miss the part of source....that is the problem.  It is only one source not sources. 


10.27.2011 at 12:32

Then you missed the point. The story clearly states it's about OKC, not MWC or TAFB or NH or WTF. There's a difference between focusing on one area and your "you better get all the facts." 


10.27.2011 at 02:59

If it is about OKC only, then what about the cities that purchase water from OKC such as Yukon, Mustang or even Edmond.  They all get a bill from Oklahoma City from a meter installed by the City of Oklahoma City.  OKC sells water to a lot of different places yet they were not listed.  For a news article to point out businesses or governmental agencies without consideration of population, usage, or size while selectively excluding others is just poor journalism.  If Ozarka did not have their own well would they have been on the list as a water hog because they use 100,000,000 gallons of water a year?  Would it matter if it is bottled for drinking?  Apparently so because Great Plains Coca-Cola uses Oklahoma City water to bottle their soda for consumption. How is it fair to single them out on this list from one “source” and not others? PowerSmith Cogeneration gets listed because it is a 100MW gas turbine power plant that uses 118,970,000 gallons yet what is not told is that a portion of that water gets turned into steam to assist another commercial facility down Council Road.  Why are Integris and Mercy Hospitals listed and not OU Medical?  OU is five time the size and consumes more water than Integris or Mercy yet because OU Medical has a meter per building they are not singled out on the list.  How much water do all of the State Buildings in Oklahoma City use?  The point of the article is to get people and companies to conserve water. I understand that point.  I understand focusing on one area but this newspaper goes out to the whole metro area.  This article paints negative light by singling out companies or governmental agencies based on one source and to exclude others simply because the weekly deadline for publication was too close.