NORMAN — City officials instituted a mandatory water conservation plan Wednesday, as temperatures continue to soar and water consumption rises.
The plan puts limitations on outdoor watering for residential and commercial customers.
All outdoor watering or irrigation is banned on Wednesdays and Thursdays. On other days, the plan bans outdoor watering and irrigation after 9 a.m. and before 6 p.m. but allows outdoor watering on an odd/even system tied to street addresses.
Residents with addresses that end with an even number can water during those specified hours on even-numbered calendar days, and residents with an odd-numbered address can water on odd-numbered calendar days, City Manager Steve Lewis said.
Hand-watering of gardens, plants and shrubs with a hose is allowed at any time.
The plan is considered Stage 2, or “moderate mandatory conservation,” under a conservation plan approved last year by the city council.
Stage 2 happens when water demand exceeds the city's supply capacity by more than 3 million gallons a day for two consecutive days with no weather-related relief.
Since July 20, city officials have asked residents to voluntarily conserve by watering on an odd/even system. That's when the city began buying supplemental water from Oklahoma City, because demand was outpacing supply. Utilities Director Ken Komiske said the city is spending about $10,000 a day on the extra water.
By Wednesday, Norman had gone 56 consecutive days with less than a tenth of an inch of rain on any one day, according to the Oklahoma Mesonet weather network. Lewis said the U.S. Drought Monitor Reports shows Oklahoma, including Norman, is suffering from severe to extreme drought. Cleveland County is among 49 counties under a burn ban.