ARDMORE, Okla. (AP) -- A list of Oklahoma cities restricting or barring outdoor water usage grew by one when officials here banned all outdoor watering until at least Thursday.
Two of three pumps that supply the city's water failed Sunday, causing officials to declare an emergency on Tuesday or risk running dry, City Manager Dan Parrott said.
An old water plant is being used to help keep water coming in at near-normal levels and officials believe the mandatory water ban will be lifted by Thursday, Parrott said. After that, residents will be asked to switch to watering every five days, alternating based on addresses.
Shawnee and Tecumseh also began rationing water this week because of low water levels at Twin Lakes, which serves as the water supply for both cities. The lakes have dropped to about 10 feet below normal.
Municipalities across the state have begun running short on water as wells struggle to pull water from the parched earth, said Brian Vance, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. The state's drought and extreme heat has caused higher water usage in many towns and pushed demands on some water systems over the edge, Vance said.
As of Monday, 20 communities were rationing water, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality.
"I think we are seeing the greatest problem areas first," Vance said. "What we are seeing is reduced recharge in those areas."
Shallow wells that don't recuperate as quickly have been affected first, but long-term effects of the drought in the state's aquifers will be harder to predict, Vance said.
Trace amounts of rain fell on parts of the state Tuesday, including Oklahoma City and Okmulgee, where nearly a tenth of an inch fell, said Craig Sullivan, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Tulsa.
Cloud cover and a lingering 20 percent chance of rain should persist into Thursday.
-- McIntosh County Rural Water District 6
-- Pontotoc Rural Water District 8
-- Tillman County Rural Water District 1
-- Nichols Hills
SURCHARGE FOR HIGH USAGE:
51 East Water, Inc., Payne County, east of Stillwater