The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 17, 2013

Will odd-even work?: City of Enid may not know whether water restrictions working until 100s return

By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — After just a full day of water restrictions in 2013, the results weren’t quite clear.

The odd-even watering system went into effect Tuesday. Two days earlier, on Sunday, Enid residents used about 19.4 million gallons of water.

On Monday, about 10 million gallons were pushed to city customers. And then on Tuesday, usage increased to 10.8 million gallons, according to figures released by Water Production Supervisor Bruce Boyd.



Rain, rain

One reason the results may appear skewed is because of the recent rainfall. Some parts of Garfield County have received more than 3 inches of rain in the past five days, according to the Oklahoma Mesonet.

“As you know, we had some intermittent rain showers from Sunday through today, so it is a little difficult to see the impact of odd-and-even watering,” said Enid spokesman Steve Kime. “However, Tuesday was mostly a sunny, dry day and the usage was holding at 10.8 (million gallons).”

More accurate results of the new rules might become apparent when the weather returns to the summertime standard.

“Next week will be the test when it’s hot, dry and near 100,” Kime said.

When the city of Enid first tried its three-tiered system of water conservation last year, the results were mixed. The first two phases didn’t produce the desired results, so authorities increased the cost of water to discourage excessive use.

Phase one, which began Tuesday, forces water customers to only use water outside on even and odd days, depending on which side of the street they live on. Houses and businesses with street addresses ending in an even number can use water on landscaping on even-numbered days. The opposite goes for addresses with an odd number.

The city also announced its two recreational splash pads also would alternate – the Champion Park splash pad at 10th and Chestnut will operate on odd days and the Hoover Park splash pad at Oklahoma and Hoover on even days.

If needed, phase two will limit outside watering to handheld hoses only instead of sprinklers.

Then, if the city still is having trouble keeping its water reservoirs filled, phase three would raise the rates of water usage.



Explanations

Utility Services Manager Scott Morris explained the conservation efforts at an informal meeting among city commissioners and staff Tuesday.

He said even though the city was able to shut off some water pumps recently, they were all running at full capacity last week.

“We’re in good shape and we’re thankful that we’ve got some rain over the past couple of days,” Morris said.

The odd-even restrictions, although new to Enid, are more commonplace elsewhere, he said. Cities like Norman, Edmond and Lawton already limit the days when residents can use water outside. In cities like Dallas, it’s “a fact of life in the summertime, every year,” he said.

Ward 1 Commissioner Ron Janzen criticized phase two during the Tuesday study session, which allows commissioners to discuss policy without voting on it.

“The one legitimate complaint that I heard last year from people is the requirement that they have a handheld hose,” he said. “People don’t want to stand up there for an hour with a hose.”

Instead, Janzen said, the city should eliminate the provision that only allows hand-watering.

“How do you enforce any of it? I mean, we’re not sending the cops out to arrest anybody anyway,” he said. “It should be something that makes sense.”

Mike Stuber, commissioner of Ward 2, mentioned any anger or frustration from the public because of water conservation might be lessened with a careful approach.

“I think that more education on why we’re doing it and how they can help conserve water would go a long way,” Stuber said. “It may be lip service to many, but there are a lot of people who just don’t like being told what to do. But if they understand why they’re being requested to do it, I think it does help.”