Excessive heat in recent years has taken its toll on the state of Oklahoma, with many areas suffering drought conditions. So in the spring of 2013, the Oklahoma City Council approved new water conservation regulations. The policy includes a permanent and mandatory odd/even rotation on watering, and there are more restrictive stages that can be put in effect based on the level of area lakes. This means that you can be issued a fine if you water on the wrong day. For pre-set sprinkler systems, that's easy enough, but others should take note as well.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the rules, stages and possible fine amounts for violation:
What is an odd/even watering rotation?
Called Stage 1, it's a pretty simple method of reducing water usage, and it's one that Oklahoma City has used on a temporary basis in past years. Now, though, the rotation is permanent and mandatory, so it's important to get to know it. If your address ends in an odd number, you can only water your lawn on odd numbered days of the month. Conversely, if your residence has an address ending in an even number, you water only on even numbered days.
What if I water on the wrong day?
I'd recommend being very careful, as Oklahoma City officials are certainly enforcing the water conservation policy, particularly when drought conditions are worsened. Fines for failure to comply start at $119, then increase to $269 and $519. Spread the word to your neighbors if you see them watering on the wrong day because you might save them a large chunk of change.
What are the other water conservation stages?
While Stage 1 is permanent, subsequent stages are only put in effect if necessary, based on area reservoir levels. For example, if the combined lake levels drop to 50 percent or less, Stage 2 will be triggered. Here are the details for each of the stages, beginning with the trigger level:
- Stage 2: At 50%, the city moves to a two day a week schedule. In this situation, single family homes with an address that ends in an odd number water only on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Those with an address ending in an even number can water only on Sundays and Thursdays. Tuesdays and Fridays are designated for all others, including duplexes, HOA properties and commercial areas.
- Stage 3: At a 45% area reservoir level, Stage 3 is enacted. This means a one day a week rotation with the following day assignments: Single family addresses ending in 1 or 3 can water on Saturday. Single family addresses ending in 5, 7 or 9 water on Wednesday). Single family addresses ending in 0 or 2 are designated for Sunday, and those addresses ending in 4, 6, or 8 get Thursday. Duplexes, triplexes and HOA properties can only water on Tuesday while commercial, industrial government properties are set for Fridays.
- Stage 4: At 40%, all sprinkler watering is banned. Only hand watering on gardens and flower beds is allowed. Commercial car washes can continue only with water recycling operations.
- Stage 5: At 35%, the final stage kicks in. Here, all outdoor watering and vehicle watering activities are banned completely.
How do I know if we've changed stages?
The city will make a significant effort to notify residents. In addition to an article in the newspaper, you will likely see a note in your utility bill as well. Still, you may want to see the city's water conservation website called squeezeeverydrop.com. Along with a number of excellent resources and a way to report violations, there are links to the official social media contacts for Oklahoma City. That would be an effective way of staying informed.
I don't live in the Oklahoma City limits. Do I still have to follow these rules?
Yes, that's very possible. Any city that purchases water from Oklahoma City must utilize a system at least as strict as the one above. Such cities include:
- El Reno
- The Village
- Warr Acres
Some rural districts also use OKC water, so it would be a good idea to contact your provider to confirm watering restrictions in your area.