The city of Wichita Falls has officially declared a stage 2 drought warning.
With the combined level of Lake Kickapoo and Lake Arrowhead dropping close to 50 percent, the City Council took action Tuesday, approving new, tougher water restrictions.
Police and other city officials will start enforcing the new restrictions Monday, June 11th. If you're caught violating one of the restrictions, you'll be fined $500 for a first offense and up to $1000 for a second offense.
Public Utilities Operations Manager Daniel Nix said, "The most important restriction is that we are going to restrict the citizens to spray irrigating once a week depending on where you're located in the city." "Spray irrigating" refers to the use of sprinkler systems or hoses with a spray head attached. Residents are allowed to use soaker hoses in their gardens on any day of the week.
Mailings started going out Monday, alerting residents of the new restrictions. The notifications also include a map showing the water rationing zones.
The zones are as follows.
- Monday: Residents North of Old Iowa Park Highway and Scott
- Tuesday: Residents South of Old Iowa Park, down to Kell and West of Kemp Blvd.
- Wednesday: South of Kell and West of Kemp
- Thursday: East of Kemp and South of Midwestern Parkway
- Friday: East of Kemp, between Scott and Midwestern Parkway can water Friday.
You can also find a complete list of the water restrictions by clicking here.
Nix said the fines are heavy to help get the point across. He said, "We're talking about having water to drink, to protect property and to protect public health not to keep peoples homes green. That's not what our priority is right now."
Other towns in Wichita County that buy water from the city are now contractually obligated to enforce their own drought plans. Each city or town under contract must reduce water use by 15 percent. How they reach that goal is up to each individual city.
Nix did tell Newschannel 6 the city is preparing for a Stage 3 Drought Emergency sometime this August. If lake levels reach below 30 percent, the city will be forced to declare a Drought Disaster.
Nix said he's confident the people of Wichita Falls will make it through this drought. He said, "This isn't the first drought the citizens have been through. They went through a very demanding one back in 1999-2000. The water zones are all the same, the restrictions are all the same, the fines are all the same. They did a fabulous job back in '99-2000 and I have no doubt they're going to do a fabulous job this time."