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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The demand for water is taking a major toll on Oklahoma City’s water system, creating a crisis situation for metro hospitals and prompting Mayor David Holt and other city officials to ask residents to stop dripping faucets connected to interior walls.

Holt and several city officials held a live Zoom news conference, giving a winter weather situation update. They discussed the ongoing issue of little to no water pressure in certain areas of the city.

Holt said water usage overnight was almost three times the amount typically used overnight at this time of year.

“That is causing water pressure problems across the city, especially in large buildings like hospitals and jails and other congregate care facilities,” Holt said.

Holt went on to introduce Larry Brouk, a metro plumber and pipefitter who joined the video news conference to provide information about water use to community members.

“Any water that is coming up through your slab on an exterior wall will still be at a risk of freezing,” Brouk said. “One thing we can do, however, is with your interior water – if you have island sinks or anything like that – simply leave your [lower cabinet] doors open.”

The winter storm that blasted Oklahoma brought historically low temperatures, and state and city officials advised Oklahomans to let their faucets drip to protect their pipes from freezing and breaking.

Residents throughout the state did just that, but water systems across the state could not handle the increased demand, which was two to three times higher than usual.

As a result, water systems either significantly or completely lost water pressure.

Holt said Oklahoma City’s water system cannot sustain the high demand for water.

Officials stressed that with the sun coming out and temperatures rising, interior pipes should be safe from freezing and that now is the right time to stop dripping faucets connected to interior wall sinks.

Holt asks that all city residents do their part to help conserve water, which includes holding off on washing clothes, not using dishwaters and taking shorter showers.