FLINT, Texas (KETK) — Little to no rain is forcing many East Texas towns and utility companies to begin rationing their water. Southern Utilities Company in Smith, Cherokee and Rusk counties are now enacting Stage 2 in the Drought Contingency Plan.

“I think just without the rain, it’s been that there is no reprieve. We usually stay inside most of the summer anyway, but now it feels like extra to take my kids outside,” said Flint resident, Regan Minkel.

Southern Utilities said the high demand for water is caused by homeowners working to keep their lawns green during this drought. Beginning Tuesday, stage 2 of their water conservation contingency plan means mandatory restriction of residential and recreational water use.

“Previously, we put out a stage 1 request for voluntary rationing and it followed the same guidelines as far as water usage as this does. Quite frankly, the customer cooperation in that has not been sufficient to keep water usage and demand at a reasonable level,” said President of Southern Utilities, Michael Ferrell.

Due to the lack of rain, water wells are not recovering like they normally should. The community is pumping more water than we can afford.

“Historical trending shows that we should normally pump 11 to 12 million gallons a day at this time of year. We are presently pumping close to 16 million gallons,” said Ferrell.

This includes washing outdoor windows, draining and refilling swimming pools, and watering lawns. The even number of addresses can water overnight only on Tuesdays. The odd number of addresses can water on Thursdays.

“The first violation would result in a written warning. The second violation would result in a water restrictor being put in the line, plus a $50 fee for installation. Of course, the third and most severe penalty would be disconnection for 7 days or until the end of the month, whichever comes first,” said Ferrell.

The use of sprinkler and lawn watering systems is also restricted to one day per work week.

“With their cooperation, we will make it. But you do not need to water your grass seven days a week or five days a week,” said Ferrell.

If any Southern Utilities Company customers have any questions regarding the mandatory water rationing, click here.