A fine idea 

A measure introduced at today’s Oklahoma City Council meeting would allow for a progressive fine schedule. Currently, the fine is $167, but that could change in about two weeks when the council will consider final adoption of the proposal.

The would-be penalties would require a $119 fine for a first-time offense, followed by fines of $269 and $500 for second and third violations, respectively.

“This is one element of an overall program to establish the new paradigm of water conservation in Oklahoma City and the metro area,” said Craig Keith, assistant city attorney.

In December, the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust signed an agreement with Oklahoma State University’s Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service to develop public outreach programs in connection with outdoor water conservation.

A second measure introduced today would require water customers to install a separate cutoff valve for new and replacement irrigation systems. This will enable the city to enforce water-use restrictions without cutting off a resident’s indoor water supply.

Both proposals are set for public hearings at the April 16 city council meeting.

Meanwhile, the mandatory odd/even water-rationing program has been in place since Jan. 17. The rotation program includes residents and businesses, and remains in effect until further notice.

Residents whose street address ends in an even number can water their yards on even-numbered days, while those with an address ending in an odd number can water on odd-numbered days.

Cities and municipalities that use OKC water also are required to comply, including:
• Blanchard,
• El Reno,
• Moore,
• Mustang,
• Newcastle,
• Norman,
• Piedmont,
• The Village,
• Warr Acres and
• Yukon.

Tinker Air Force Base also must comply with the restrictions.

The National Weather Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center has forecast lower-than-normal rainfall through the spring. 

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Tim Farley

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