Protecting Our Water Supply

About 50% of Texas is undergoing extreme drought conditions. Meteorologists say a drought like this has not been seen in over a decade. Wichita Falls Public Utilities Operations Manager Daniel Nix says they have been working for 13 years to establish the Cypress Water Treatment Plant Improvement Project.

The Cypress Water Treatment Plant is predominantly a reverse osmosis plant as of now, but officials are looking to make great improvements, updating to a conventional facility with a new high service pump station, chemical handling facilities, and filter press operations.

Nix says, "Our expectations for that is that it will give us an additional 10 million gallons of water treatment capacity that will provide the citizens that volume of water for the next 10, 15, 20 years before we have to look at another expansion".

Lakes Kickapoo and Arrowhead are the water sources of this new project. Nix says it will be more effective and more energy efficient. He says this new addition will also help minimize costs. Nix says the new construction is going extremely well and is about three months ahead of schedule. The project was originally going to commence in the year 2000, but because Lakes Kickapoo and Arrowhead were almost empty at that time plans were not able to go through then.

Nix says, "The demand for water far exceeded our treatment plant capacity. And at that time we realized we were going to expand the treatment capacity at the plant. So with the construction here at Cypress it's the realization of that need from the last drought". He says the city will be asked to voluntarily conserve water when levels hit between 50% and 60%. And that we are about 14 % away from reaching that.

Nix says the project should be finished by the beginning of next year, and he hopes this new construction will help prevent potential hazardous drought conditions. Nix says residents can always help with water conservation by checking for leaks at home, repairing sink leaks, changing shower heads, and making sure to turn off nozzles on your water hoses.

Jessica Abuchaibe, Newschannel 6.