Mayor Dewey Bartlett ordered voluntary water rationing for the city of Tulsa at a news conference Tuesday.
The request to cut back comes after a sudden spike in usage to 207 million gallons of water on Monday. The absolute capacity is 210 million gallons.
"So we're very, very close to that amount," Bartlett said. "So that is why the urgency of my request is to please, please, conserve the use of water immediately."
The voluntary rationing also includes towns that purchase water from Tulsa. They are: Bixby, Catoosa, Glenpool, Jenks, Owasso, Skiatook, Sperry, Sapulpa RW Company, Creek RWD No.2, Okmulgee RWD No. 6, Osage RWD No.15, Rogers RWD No. 3 & 5, Turley Water District No.3, Wagoner RWD No. 4, Washington RWD No. 3.
Under Stage 1, customers are asked to limit outside watering to the hours between midnight and noon every other day, based on odd-even address numbers.
Water Supervisor Clayton Edwards said, "If you're watering lawns, don't water streets, sidewalks and driveways. Just be mindful and use water wisely."
Unless there is a reduction in demand, the city will move to mandatory restrictions that are punishable with a fine of at least $100.
If water use tops 204 million gallons per day for two consecutive days, Stage 2 mandatory restrictions will be imposed.
If water use tops 210 million gallons per day for two days, watering would be restricted to the hours between midnight and noon every other day and with the use of a hand-held hoses only.
If use grows higher, then outside watering could be prohibited. The city believes simply limiting outside watering will be enough.
Last year, when it was this hot and this dry, the calls to cut back worked.
"At the end of the day, we need to voluntarily conserve water for irrigating lawns and all the things we're used to, but it's more important to use water for life and safety," Mayor Bartlett said.
City Hall gets the new numbers on water usage early each morning. If new restrictions go into place, they take effect immediately.