Today, City Council approved progressive water conservation measures for all Oklahoma City residential and commercial water customers. Stage 1, Mandatory Odd/Even Watering, has been in place since January 17, 2013 and remains in effect until further notice.
Stages will be triggered according the capacity of all six lakes. Stages 1 through 3 are based on the last number of the building address.
The past two years have taken a toll on all Oklahoma lakes, including Oklahoma City’s six water supply reservoirs. Climatologists predict the drought will continue through the summer of 2013. This means it’s more important than ever to use water wisely.
Other cities that use Oklahoma City water are required to abide by the same program, unless a similar or stricter program is in place. City Council also approved an amendment to the municipal code for restrictions on use of water. The amendment establishes new penalties for violations of water use restrictions. Penalties for failure to comply are increasing fines of $119, $269 and $519 plus court costs. A cross-divisional enforcement team will issue citations.
“It’s unlikely that anyone in the Oklahoma City metro is unaware of the drought situation at this time,” said Marsha Slaughter. “It’s not our intention to penalize our customers for using water. We just need everyone to know how serious this year’s drought likely will be. We all want nice landscaping. It’s possible to do so and still use water wisely.”
To help convey that message and to help customers rethink the way they use water outdoors, the Utilities Department partnered with the OSU Extension Service, Horticulture and Landscaping Architecture Department. Dr. Justin Moss, assistant professor, and his staff are promoting proper outdoor watering and drought-tolerant landscaping. They are conducting workshops and will speak to neighborhood associations and organizations upon request and availability. Dr. Justin Moss can be reached at 405-744-5729 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lake capacity trigger - All the time
Hand watering landscaping and gardens with a hose is allowed any time.
Lake capacity trigger - 50 percent or less
Lake capacity trigger - 45 percent or less
Lake capacity trigger - 40 percent or less
Lake capacity trigger - 35 percent or less
City officials have implemented a mandatory odd/even watering program in Oklahoma City, effective January 17.
The rotation program includes residents and businesses and remains in effect until further notice.
More ways to use water wisely during a drought:
Use drought tolerant plant materials in landscaping or gardens.
Avoid fertilizing, aerating, de-thatching, topdressing or transplanting. It’s not a good idea to encourage new growth during a drought.
Remember, brown Bermuda grass means it is dormant not dead. It’s nature’s way of conserving energy.
Water plants and shrubs less frequently, but deeply and thoroughly.
Citizens whose address numbers end in an even number may water their yards on even-numbered days. Likewise, citizens whose house numbers end in an odd number may water on odd-numbered days.
Example: Customers whose address ends with 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 may water only on odd number days (January 17, January 19, etc) and customers whose address ends with 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 may water only on even number days (January 18; January 20, etc).
Completely turning off sprinkler systems is preferable. More stringent outdoor water use restrictions are likely as the drought continues.
“Oklahoma City’s water supply lakes, Hefner, Overholser and Draper are just over half full,” said Utilities Director Marsha Slaughter. “We don’t know how long the drought will last, but it’s important that residents consider water conservation when they plan their landscaping, choose plants and renovate their home.”
Cities that use Oklahoma City water are also required to comply with the outdoor watering restriction as a minimum. These cities include:
The conservation efforts are a result of forecasts from The National Weather Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center that predict lower than normal rainfall will continue through spring 2013. The drought conditions Oklahoma City has experienced since 2011 will continue for at least several more months.
Residents are encouraged to conserve water and reduce their water bills by installing faucets that use less water, low flow toilets and high efficiency water-using appliances.