City View resident Eric Norris thinks Wichita Falls water rates are too high.
That's why for five years he has been using water from the fill station tower on Reilly Rd. for his personal use. However, today Norris came face to face with a letter posted on the tower.
"I haul my water to the house. If they cut me off then I have no choice but to deal with their crap and that's a monopoly and that's wrong," said Norris.
Norris found out the city of Wichita Falls is cutting him off. The letter said, starting Tuesday the only people who will have access to the water tower will be those who live in the annexed area within city limits. Wichita Falls Mayor Glenn Barham said, the city knows for a fact that some out of towners are paying $2.50 for 1,000 gallons of water and they're re-selling it for $100. Some are even using it to water their yards. Barham said, that abuse needs to stop. However, some residents say there are customers who actually need it.
"It's the only place we can get water. Without it, a lot of families can't take a shower. They can't do anything," said Kelly Moore, a resident who lives just outside city limits.
Residents of that annexed area will need to prove to the city they actually live there with a sanitation bill or personal identification. The change is all a shock to residents.
Moore said, "If it wasn't for my cousin, I wouldn't have even known about it yet. I wasn't going to haul this week because I didn't need to. I was going out of town so I went and got two loads of water that will last me about three weeks."
City officials said, the water fill station was never meant for county use.
"The city is not required to serve water to anyone outside city limits. It's unfortunate that they have chosen to locate themselves in an area that's not served. There are other areas outside city limits in which other districts do serve water," said Teresa Rose, the deputy director of Wichita Falls Public Works.
City leaders originally intended to cut off service for residents outside city limits today. However, they decided to wait until Tuesday to make sure everyone in the annexed area gets a notification letter about the changes. Public works officials and city council members are expected to address the issue during their regular meeting on Tuesday. That meeting will be at 8:30a.m. at the city council chambers.
If you live in the annexed area and still have not received a notification letter, you're asked to contact the city if you want to have access to the fill station. The number to call is: 940-691-1153.