Drought Continues to Soak Up Wichita Falls Water Sources

Wichita Falls city officials say the extreme drought is soaking up water sources and many residents are doing what they can to slow down the loss.

City officials say despite Lakes Kickapoo and Arrowhead losing water weekly, they are not in panic mode just yet.

City offices are using water as they normally do and will not look to make any changes until the combined lake levels hit 60 percent. Lake levels are dropping about 1.5 percent each week.

Daniel Nix, with the Wichita Falls Public Utilities office, says that puts the city at about two to three weeks away from triggering a level one drought contingency water watch in Wichita Falls.

But that is only voluntary and some residents want to see more done. Tammie Perry, a Wichita Falls resident says, "I don't think that if its voluntary that people will necessarily do it on there own. I think that we are in such a situation we don't know when the next rainfall is going to come in, so we need to start taking precautions."

Nix says the city will not take precautions until that level one plan is enacted. Then the city will look at ways to reduce its immediate water usage.

Nix says Wichita Falls Public Utility have been proactive for years in water conservation.

Nix says, "We are always working with the other departments in the city to look for better ways of conserving water."

Public Utilities officials say just a year ago they bought new equipment to help find leaks in the water distribution system.

Daniel Nix says he is pleased with the efforts residents are making to save water. Nix comments, "I've seen the citizens take their drinking water to heart and to conserve it, protect it, and I think they've done an outstanding job."

While many residents tell Newschannel 6 they are conserving water, usage is actually up.

The Wichita Falls Public Utilities Department says as of Monday, July 18, daily water consumption is at 40 million gallons daily. That is up 33 percent from several weeks ago.

The level one drought contingency effort will go into effect when lake levels hit 60 percent. The plan will move into mandatory restrictions at 50 percent.

Daniel Nix says that could be as early as October if we do not see any rain in the near future.

Natalie Garcia,  Newschannel 6