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Tulsa Mayor Calls For Voluntary Water Conservation

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Mayor Dewey Bartlett asks Tulsans to voluntarily conserve water during a news conference. Mayor Dewey Bartlett asks Tulsans to voluntarily conserve water during a news conference.
Though Tulsa's sources of water are in good shape, the water treatment plant is working overtime. Though Tulsa's sources of water are in good shape, the water treatment plant is working overtime.
Brown lawns are becoming the norm in many Tulsa neighborhoods. Brown lawns are becoming the norm in many Tulsa neighborhoods.
Norma Weidner said she's not quite ready to give up on her yard but is cutting back on water usage. Norma Weidner said she's not quite ready to give up on her yard but is cutting back on water usage.
An automatic lawn sprinkler [file photo] An automatic lawn sprinkler [file photo]

Dan Bewley and NewsOn6.com,

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The hot, dry weather is taking a toll on Tulsa's water delivery system, so Mayor Dewey Bartlett is asking residents to voluntarily conserve water.

The mayor says it's important to start saving water now.

Tulsa has two water treatment plants, and together they can deliver 220 million gallons of water a day. We're not to that level yet, but we have broken an 11-year water usage record three times this week already.

Cicada's and sprinklers: the sounds of summer. It's those sprinklers that have been busy across the city fighting the hot, dry weather.

"I'm expecting that I may have to give up my yard, though I'm trying to keep it for now," said Tulsa resident Norma Weidner.

Norma Weidner admits it may be a losing cause, but she's not given up yet to keep her yard green.

She's also doing what she can to cut down on how much water she uses.

"I've got an irrigation system, and I've been using it twice a day so I'm trying to cut down to a smaller area a little bit at a time," she said.

Weidner's plan is what city officials hope more residents do.

7/20/2011 Related Story: Tulsa's Record Water Usage Continues

"This has been an unprecedented wave of very hot weather, very dry conditions," said Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

Bartlett took to the podium Thursday to urge residents to voluntarily conserve water.

"We do not have any problems at any with our sources of water," he said.

The city says its two sources of water, Lake Oologah and Lake Spavinaw, are full. But its two water treatment plants have been working overtime to deliver record amounts of water.

The highest amount came on Monday when the city used 204 million gallons of water. On Tuesday it was 191 million gallons. Both of those were higher than the record amount used in 1999.

7/18/2011 Related Story: Extreme Heat Could Lead To Water Restrictions For City Of Tulsa

The number to watch for is 213 million gallons a day. If it gets to that point for two consecutive days, the city can begin issuing mandatory water restrictions - including allowing only outside watering every other day or banning outside watering entirely.

Tulsa resident Norma Weidner is starting her conservation plan now and encourages her fellow Tulsans to do the same.

"We all will have to ration if we don't do our part voluntarily," Weidner said.

Get tips from the City of Tulsa on how to conserve water

Water rationing for the City is outlined in Title 11-C, Chapter 13, entitled restricted use of water in times of shortages. There are four stages of water restrictions:

  • Stage 1 - Voluntary Restrictions

The condition for Stage 1 shall exist when water usage reaches 94% of deliverability each day for 2 consecutive days. Stage 1 would be implemented when demand is 206 mgd for 2 consecutive days. Under Stage 1 conditions, customers will be asked to conserve water voluntarily by limiting outside watering to the hours between midnight and noon every other day based on odd-even house numbering.

  • Stage 2 - Mandatory Restriction of Outside Watering To Every Other Day

The conditions for Stage 2 shall exist when water usage reaches 97% of deliverability each day for 2 consecutive days, or 213 mgd. Under Stage 2 conditions, the Mayor can order the mandatory restriction of outside watering to the hours between midnight and noon every other day.

  • Stage 3 - Mandatory Restrictions of Outside Watering To Every Other Day with a Hand-Held Hose

The conditions of Stage 3 shall exist when water usage reaches 100% of deliverability each day for 2 consecutive days, or 220 mgd. Under Stage 3 conditions, the Mayor can order the mandatory restriction of outside watering to the hours between midnight and noon every other day by hand-held hose only.

  • Stage 4 - Mandatory Curtailment of Outside Watering

The conditions of Stage 4 shall exist when water usage exceeds deliverability each day or 2 consecutive days. Under Stage 4 conditions, the Mayor may prohibit all outside watering.

Keep checking here for new developments in this story, and News On 6 viewers can watch reporter Dan Bewley's report on News On 6 at 6 p.m.

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