Skyrocketing water use in Oklahoma City during the worst of the ongoing heat wave has prompted officials to implement a mandatory water rationing system until conditions improve.
The Oklahoma City Utilities Department announced the mandatory odd/even watering program Wednesday for the first time since last summer's drought. The city began a voluntary program only the day before.
Residents and businesses at an even-numbered address can water on even-numbered dates, and those at odd-numbered addresses can water on odd-numbered dates.
The rationing also applies to Oklahoma City suburbs that use city water. Utilities spokeswoman Debbie Ragan said cities and other areas affected by the rationing are Blanchard, Canadian County Rural Water District No. 3, Deer Creek Rural Water District, Edmond, El Reno, Moore, Mustang, Newcastle, Norman, Piedmont, Pottawatomie County Rural Water District No. 3, Shawnee, Warr Acres and Yukon.
Some without water
Water use has been so high in recent days that some utility customers in areas that usually have low water pressure on high water-use days have had no water at all, Ragan said.
“We need help bringing that water demand and daily use down so we can help these people with no water,” Ragan said.
Average daily water use in Oklahoma City had hovered around 170 million gallons per day for most of July, which is manageable, Ragan said. But use jumped from about 189 million gallons by Friday all the way to 198 million gallons on Tuesday, quickly approaching the all-time daily record of 202 million gallons set about a year ago.