Winter Storm Rages, Causing Stress on Infrastructure

Water and wastewater systems are urged to contact SoonerWARN or ORWA officials in the event of an emergency due to winter storms.

As the latest round of winter storms rage across Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Rural Water Association stresses the importance of being diligent as water and wastewater systems monitor their systems and urge all to have back-up plans in the event of a power outage.

Local meteorologists are predicting most of Oklahoma will continue to stay below freezing for the next several days with the possibility of additional snow.

“During these severe winter storms we urge our systems to be prepared for the worst case scenario,” said ORWA Deputy CEO, Jimmy Seago. “With temperatures in the single digits and wind chills reaching negative degrees, water and wastewater systems need to be taking preventative measures to protect the system itself and continue to provide for Oklahomans.”

Local utility companies are reporting the possibility of “rolling power outages” due to an overtaxed system as customers continue to use additional power amid the winter storms. Seago said all systems should be prepared with generators so as to keep heaters and water running even if the power is turned off.

ORWA and other state agencies have been diligently working across the state to ensure utilities are able to provide water and wastewater services to Oklahomans.

“If your system encounters an emergency please contact us either directly or through the SoonerWARN system,” Seago said. “Our team will work to provide the necessary resources to help.

“We urge all Oklahomans to do their part by conserving energy, water and gas during this historic weather event,” he said. “We would like to thank every frontline worker and emergency crew members who are working out in these conditions and pray for their health and safety.”

Oklahomans can work to conserve energy in the following ways:

  • Set thermostats lower than usual, if health permits
  • Postpone using major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers, and clothes dryers until mid-day or after 9 p.m. when the demand for electricity decreases
  • Turn off electric lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible
  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes

Report all emergencies via the SoonerWARN system or contact ORWA at 405.672.8925.

For the latest information on the Oklahoma Rural Water Association, visit

— Written by JD Rosman

The Oklahoma Rural Water Association was formed in 1970 and was the first of its kind, giving a voice for rural water systems and districts across the state. Today, ORWA represents more than 550 water and wastewater utilities, providing management solutions, training opportunities, serves as their legislative voice, and provides technical assistance to its membership. The ORWA works to meet the needs of its members, always working to provide the best and safest water supply to its customers. Learn more about ORWA at 


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