Cloud Seeding - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Cloud Seeding

The City of Wichita Falls is looking into a highly debatable technology to try to make it rain.  It’s called cloud seeding.

Rebecca Dodge, an Environmental Science Professor teacher at Midwestern State University, said cloud seeding is a technology that helps produce rain fall by putting chemicals into the air.

“It’s designed to get the water vapor to come into a form where it can fall out of the sky and become part of our water resources and water system,” Dodge said.

Public Works Director Russell Schrieber said they want to provide every opportunity for the reservoirs to catch some additional water.  This is one of the main reasons why the city is looking into cloud seeding.  The fact is, the lakes are getting lower as every day goes by.

Schrieber said, “Our projections show that if we were to just get normal rainfall, the lakes, they aren’t going to fill.”

He explained the combined lake levels would hover around 40 to 50 percent.  They also looked at scientific evidence and found that it would help increase rainfall by ten to 15 percent per storm.

 “If we can squeeze an extra 10 to 15 percent out of each rain event we’re to come by I think, depending on the cost, I think it would be money well spent,” Schrieber said.

However, in order for cloud seeding to be successful, a lot of people have to get involved.  Schrieber explained they will need a licensed contractor, a licensed meteorologist to monitor the radar, a plane stationed in Wichita Falls equipped with the chemicals, and a pilot on standby at all times.

Many people would benefit from the extra rain, but some residents are concerned about the damage it could have on the environment.  However, Dodge explained that the amount of chemicals being released into the air, aren’t at a high enough concentration level to be harmful.

Dodge said, “The concentration (of silver iodide) that they actually put into the clouds is very low and in fact if they try to see if this rain fall came from a seeded cloud, they can’t find the traces of silver.”

The city is still in the investigation phase so Schrieber couldn’t talk about how much the seeding could potentially cost.

He explained, “It’s not a done deal by any means.  We are just in the process of investigating and to see if it’s something we would want to possibly entertain this spring.”

Schrieber said they hope to have a decision about cloud seeding by March.

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6
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