As Oklahoma continues to face historic drought conditions, people across the state are continuing to work together to address the developing challenges.

At the recent Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference, state officials, national experts and scientists gathered to discuss water planning for municipal, recreational and agricultural uses. In addition to current water supply shortages in some areas, we are also looking ahead to prepare for future changes in water supply.

Unfortunately, this drought is expected to continue for some time. It will take more than a good rain to replenish water levels, but common sense precautions will help us stretch our resources and increase safety.

The drought has taken a toll on crops and livestock, as well as public water supply and well levels. Dry conditions also continue to raise fire danger. Experts tell us the current drought rivals the Dust Bowl, although advances in agriculture practices thankfully have spared us from the devastation Oklahomans faced in the 1930s.

The lessons we learned from the Dust Bowl will help us adapt once again. By working together and using our resources wisely, we can lessen the effects of the drought. State and community leaders are working to adapt water supply systems, assist farmers and ranchers and protect lives and property from potential wildfires.

In addition, there are a variety of simple steps individuals can take to conserve water and reduce fire risks.

Thousands of gallons of water can be saved by limiting car washing, adjusting landscaping to allow less frequent watering or just turning the water off while you brush your teeth. Removing leaves and brush near homes and buildings and exercising extreme caution with flammable material can easily save property and lives.

Oklahomans have a long history of persevering in the face of adversity, and I am confident that we will overcome the effects of the drought by working together and taking the necessary precautions.

If you have questions or comments, please write me at the Office of the Governor, Room 212, Oklahoma City OK 73105 or visit the “Contact the Governor” section of my website, www.gov.ok.gov.