Stage 3 of Water Shortage Ordinance in effect

April 24, 2023

With the exception of steeper emergency water rate increases, Stage 3 of the Water Shortage Ordinance is in effect as of Monday, April 24.

Stage 3 limits outdoor water use to one day per week, drops the written warning for the first violation, includes reduced water pressure within the distribution system, and could later result in higher rates for households and businesses using more than 2,001 gallons of water per month.

“Implementing an increased fee schedule requires approval of a resolution by the City Council, so we will maintain Stage 2 rates for now,” said Lauritsen. “If we are still in Stage 3 in early May, the council will be asked to approve the resolution for Stage 3 rates at that time.”

Stages of the ordinance are based on the percentage of overall water supply. Stage 1 kicks in when levels fall to 79-70 percent, Stage 2 is 69-60 percent, Stage 3 is 59-50 percent, and Stage 4, which is considered “critical,” is any level below 50 percent. The City entered Stage 1 of the ordinance in December 2022, and overall water supply has continued to decline at a steady rate since that time.

As of Monday morning, the City’s overall water supply was at 57.4 percent, putting the area in Stage 3 of the Water Shortage Ordinance — just above “critical” status.

What to do

Beginning April 24, the following provisions are in effect for all City of Bartlesville water customers:

  • Rates increases (remain at Stage 2 rates) for customers using more than 10,000 gallons of water per month.
    • 10,001 gallons and 25,000 gallons – 5 percent increase
    • 25,001 gallons and 50,000 gallons – 10 percent increase
    • In excess of 50,000 gallons – 15 percent increase
  • Outdoor water use will be restricted to one day per week
    • Even-numbered properties may water on Thursdays
    • Odd-numbered properties may water on Fridays
  • Water pressure will be reduced within the distribution system to minimum levels allowed by state and federal regulations
  • City-owned facilities and capital projects will reduce or discontinue all irrigation except as necessary to preserve greens or newly planted trees. For athletic fields or newly laid sod or seed, the watering shall be restricted to follow the outdoor water restrictions for even numbered properties implemented by each stage.
  • A reduced schedule of operation or closure may be implemented for City-owned swimming pools.
  • City-owned splash pads will remain closed.
  • All leaks in the raw water and treated water system will be repaired immediately, and non-essential operational uses of water by City crews will be suspended. This includes the flushing of water mains and fire hydrants, street sweeping, routine water jet cleaning of sanitary sewer mains, and non-essential training of fire fighters using potable water.

A variance committee is in place to consider cases of undue hardship for the emergency rates.

“Anyone who feels these provisions place an undue burden on them, their organization or business can seek a variance,” Lauritsen said. “This would apply mostly to health care facilities, multi-family dwellings, and things of that nature.”

To apply for a variance, complete the “Contact Us” form on the City’s website,, or call 918.338.4100. Variances apply only to rates and do not apply to outdoor water use or any other provision in the ordinance.

You might also like:
City Beat, April 4
City Council OKs drought plan
City Beat, March 21