Cloud Seeding Funds Approved By WF City Council - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Cloud Seeding Funds Approved By WF City Council

Cloud seeding was approved by Wichita Falls city leaders on Tuesday.

This year marks the fourth straight year of drought conditions and lake levels are at an all time low.  Director of Public Works Russell Schreiber said, they have exhausted every other option.  This is why the Wichita Fall City Council approved funding for the project, in hopes that when it does rain, it rains more.  The goal is to bring more rain to the water sheds and Schreiber said the conditions look promising this year.

“I think it’s the right decision.  Now mother nature has to cooperate,” Schreiber said.

With the cost at a max of $300,000, everyone hopes it will be a success.  Part of the success comes with the company the city is teaming up with to make sure they have all of the right equipment.  Seeding Operations and Atmospheric Research, also known as S.O.A.R., will be providing the plane, the seeding material, a pilot on standby, a licensed meteorologist, and anything else to make sure the operation runs smoothly.  Manager of S.O.A.R. Gary Walker took the stand at council to explain the process more in depth and also explained the results aren’t a guarantee.

“Is it a silver bullet?  No.  We’re not going to be able to put 20 inches of water in the lake.  It’s just another tool,” Walker said.

However, Schreiber said they are confident they have the technology and equipment to be successful.

He explained, “They know what they’re doing.  So if anyone can make it a successful project, we feel they can.”

He also explained that cloud seeding isn’t something new.  He said people have been doing it for decades or longer. 

The city won’t be paying the price tag alone.  Schreiber said American Electric Power and the Wichita County Water Improvement District #2 have agreed to help with the cost.  They will each contribute $30,000.  He also explained Wichita County and the W T Waggoner State are also planning to contribute to the cost, but the amount is unclear.

Also, the total cost for the project will vary.  It all comes down to how many times they actually go up in the air in an attempt to seed the clouds.  Also if there is a lot of rain early on in the project, Schreiber said the city can get out of the six month contract with S.O.A.R.

With the funding approved, cloud seeding could start as early as March 1st.  This is when the contract starts.  It will be suspended in July and August when there is less chance for rain.  They will resume cloud seeding in September and October.

For more information on the project, click on the links below:

Cloud Seeding

Reaching Out For Cloud Seeding

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6
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