City Of Tulsa Asks Customers To Voluntarily Limit Water Usage


Wednesday, August 3rd 2011, 8:14 am
By: News On 6


Emory Bryan and Russell Hulstine, NewsOn6.com

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The record-breaking heat is causing record-breaking water usage in the Tulsa area.  For the first time in almost 30 years, the city is asking customers to voluntarily restrict their water usage.

Customers whose street address ends with an odd number are encouraged to water only on odd numbered calendar days. Customers whose street address ends with an even number are asked to water only on even numbered calendar days.

The city of Tulsa's water distribution system has reached capacity, so the city is asking customers to limit their use.  

"This is new territory for us because usage is at record levels. The plants are being pushed to capacity and are handling the volume and higher pump rates satisfactorily now, but we need to be prepared for potential problems," said Clayton Edwards, Director of the Water & Sewer Department.

The city of Tulsa is shutting off all splash pads within the city limits.  The city says it made that decision based on concerns for the parents and grandparents monitoring children and children being out in the heat and hot asphalt.

"The stress on the system is very real, and we have to ask the citizens to reduce their watering so we can give the system a little bit of a rest," said Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

Read City of Tulsa ordinance concerning water rationing.

The city says four pools: Lacy, Whiteside, McClure and Reed are all operational and will be open until August 12.

8/2/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Sets Water Usage Record; Restrictions Likely If Trend Continues

Tulsa's thirst for water over the last few days is such that if anything major went wrong with the system - it couldn't pump enough treated water to meet the demand. Last week - a single but large water main break wasted an estimated 5 million gallons.

Pumps and motors have been going wide open around the clock.  The city has had to install a sprinkler system over the pumps to cool them down, and keep them operating during the hot weather.

On Monday, the city of Tulsa used almost 208 million gallons of water.  It's the first time the city has reached this threshold in a couple of weeks.  On Tuesday, usage was just over 207 million gallons of water.

At a news conference at city hall Wednesday morning, Mayor Bartlett said the city has plenty of water in its reservoirs, the problem is distributing water.

"We're worried about stressing the system too much," Bartlett said.

Under city of Tulsa guidelines, if usage is more than 206 million gallons for two days in a row, Tulsans will be asked to voluntarily conserve water. 

By ordinance, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett is issuing an executive order which will apply to customers both inside and outside of Tulsa. The first stage is voluntary restrictions.

The order will also impact water customers in Bixby, Catoosa, Glenpool, Jenks and Owasso, who get their water from the city of Tulsa.

There are different stages of restrictions, going all the way up to stage four, when outside watering will be banned altogether. 

To get to that stage, usage would have to go up by 12 million gallons a day.

Water rationing for the city is outlined in Title 11-C, Chapter 13, entitled restricted use of water in times of shortages.

  • 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.

Lacie Lowry will have more on water use restrictions in the 10 p.m. newscast. Scroll down to vote in a News On 6 poll on the voluntary limits.