Drought Watch: Munday Starts New Cloud Seeding Program

Drought Watch: Munday Starts New Cloud Seeding Program

Munday is starting a new cloud seeding program. The city has decided they have to do something to battle the drought.

However, Munday is just part of the new program. Five different counties have decided to join a group effort for cloud seeding.

The counties include: Haskell, Knox, Stonewall, Jones, and Fisher. They have all pledged money to take a shot in the cloud seeding experiment.

"It's something that it's better to be proactive than to just sit back and hope something will happen," said Ricky Ake, Munday City Manager.

The five counties are splitting the cost of the seeding evenly. All together the counties will pay an average base cost of $39,800 plus the cost of airplane fuel, and the cost of flares per month. 

That means each county will spend around $7,500 monthly. Knox County will be splitting that money even further.

They will break that amount across seven different city entities. Now, the city of Munday will spend around $1,500 monthly on the joint seeding effort.

"In seeding, we're just trying to increase the flow, foot print of the storm that's there," said Ake. "Increase the intensity, as far as the amount of rain that's coming, and the duration."

Although they said rain chances may be unlikely, they are willing to give anything that may help with rain.

"To try and take advantage, if the advantage is presented, to increase the amount of rainfall that we get," said Ake.

Many people are skeptical of the cloud seeding programs, according to Ake. He said he hopes more people get educated on the issue.

"I think it would be really cool to have it here since we're in a severe drought," said Brenley Waters, a Munday resident and student. "We need it to rain, so I think it would be a good idea."

Waters did a research paper on cloud seeding in school, and she said it is a very interesting topic. Other residents weren't so sure about the cloud seeding. Some residents said they feel the city should leave the rain up to God, and others agreed. They also said if it helps it may be worth a try.

The counties started seeding on June 26, 2014. Since then, they have seeded twice.

The seeding program for the counties is just on a trial basis right now. They will seed for 3 to 4 months, and then come up with a longer plan.

The seeding will stop by October 1, 2014, in time for fall harvesting. They hope later on they can figure out a 4 or 5 year plan.

This is an affordable option, according to Ake. The city has also requested a grant for water wells, according to Ake. Many people have tried to come up with other options.

"A lot of people have made mention that we truck in water," Ake said. "A little bit of feasibility study was done on that, and to supply just the city of Munday on a one day basis, if we could find the water to buy…the cost would be over $50,000."