City Leaders Respond To Drought Concerns

City Leaders Respond To Drought Concerns

City leaders responded to a business owner's claims that she's out of business because of the way Wichita Falls has handled the drought.

When Smith's Gardentown & Farms closed yesterday, the owner said her shop could have been saved if the city did a better job finding other sources of water. She also said the city isn't doing a good job educating people.

Despite those allegations, Public Utilities Operations Manager Daniel Nix said, the city is right on point when it comes to conserving water.

"From October through March of this year we have conserved 400 million gallons of water that we normally would've taken out of the lake," said Nix.

But Nix said the city started conserving water well before the drought started, with laws that restrict irrigation year round even when lakes are full. Then city leaders put together a water conservation task force to come up with the most effective regulations. Owners of gardening centers were part of that task force. They even aired a 30 minute video advising people on what plants they should buy during this drought even though that's not the city's responsibility.

Nix said, "We are looking more when we get into the drought at keeping people alive, the safety, the health of the community as well as providing fire protection. Those are all more important than having a green lawn."

He also said other businesses might continue to be affected by the drought if we don't get more rain.

"We've already gone out and restricted car washing. Right now they're restricted one day a week. If we go on into the drought and lake levels continue to decline you may see them get restricted even more or even forced to close," said Nix.

But the city hopes it won't come to that and it has been actively planning for the future. Right now the city is working on it's Stage 4: Drought Disaster plan. City council will unveil those plans at its next regular city council session on June 4th. However, city leaders still don't know when we should expect to enter that stage.

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6