Water Rates Might Increase - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Water Rates Might Increase

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Wichita Falls City Councilors met on Tuesday to discuss a number of city projects.  This included three projects that might force water rates to be increased.

Part of the increase would cover the revenue that has been lost because resident are using less water due to drought restrictions.  Assistant City Manager Jim Dockery said another part of the money would go towards the Water Reuse Project, and also funding towards the Lake Ringgold Project.

“With the drought, we have to look at all our options for additional water supply,” Dockery said.

However, to complete these projects the city will need help.  Estimates presented at the City Council’s Special Session show that the Lake Ringgold project alone, would cost $328.5-million.  So for this project they are looking into a partnership with the Tarrant Regional Water District.  Dockery said it appears that they are interested in taking over the largest portion of the cost.  This would be 80-percent, with the city covering the other 20-percent.

Director of Public Works Russell Schreiber said the goal is to make Wichita Falls more drought resistant.

“We will never make ourselves 100-percent drought tolerant.  We could make ourselves more drought resistant,” Schreiber said.

He said Lake Ringgold would really help the city head in that direction, but the other projects are also doing their part.  Schreiber also explained that when we come out of the drought, people will probably be so used to conserving, that water use won’t go up too much, causing water rates to level out.

When people hear about water rates increasing, most tend to freak out.  This is understandable because it seems like a large jump, but in reality it’s not.

Dockery said, “I understand that it sounds like a high price tag, but when you look at what you pay for water and what a 30-percent increase might be, it would be about seven to eight dollars more a month.”

Dockery also said people should think about what they spend on other essentials, such as a cell phone or satellite or cable bill.  In comparison water rates aren’t that high.  He explained the price of water is relatively cheap in Texas and in the area.

So even though 30-percent might seem like a high number, it might be something the city has to consider to be able to counter act the consequences of the drought.  However, the increase isn’t a for sure thing.  It was just an estimate presented to council members to consider.

Stay with Newschannel 6 for any updates as the story develops.

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6
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