Oklahoma City announced Thursday it is immediately implementing an odd/even watering program for residents and businesses that will remain in effect until further notice.
Residents whose address numbers end in an even number may water their yards on even-numbered days. Likewise, residents whose house numbers end in an odd number may water on odd-numbered days.
City officials urged residents and business owners to consider completely turning off sprinkler systems, and warned 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 subject to the water rationing. Suburbs and water districts subject to the new restrictions are: Blanchard, Edmond, El Reno, Moore, Mustang, Newcastle, Norman, Piedmont, Yukon, Canadian County Rural Water District #3, the Deer Creek Rural Water Corporation, Tinker Air Force Base and Pottawatomie County Rural Water District #3.
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.
Climatologists say 2011 and 2012 together was the fourth-driest two-year period on record, and water levels at each of the city's storage reservoirs are at an all-time low.
At a meeting of the Oklahoma City Water Trust this week, members discussed enacting more conservation measures after being told new residential water connections are up 38 percent this year over last.
Future restrictions discussed include limiting outdoor watering to one day a week or even steeper water prices in an effort to cut back on consumption.
AT A GLANCE
How it works
Odd/even watering rationing requires that residential and business customers whose address ends with 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 may water only on odd-numbered days (Jan. 17, Jan. 19, etc.) and customers whose address ends with 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 may water only on even-numbered days (Jan. 18, Jan. 20, etc.).
How to save