July 12, 2014 at 1:46 AM CDT - Updated July 21 at 5:20 PM
Restaurants in Texoma are trying to conserve in the drought by not using water from the tap and not refilling customers’ water unless asked.
"I was first surprised when they had the bottled water,” said Ron Tarach, visitng Texoma from Meritt Island, Florida.
Tarach is in North Texas to do some training at Sheppard Air Force Base. When going out to eat, he dined in at On The Border restaurant and learned about the city of Wichita Falls severe drought situation.
He also found out why On The Border no longer serves water from the tap to its customers.
“Usually we would have a pitcher of water and go refill their cups, but now more so it’s, ‘Hey would you like another bottle of water?, said Amy Farquhar, Hospitality Manager at On The Border restaurant.
She said back in June they began serving its customers bottled water.
“Bosses hire up saw how serious our drought was and decided to let us make the decision and we decided to give the bottled water away for free,” said Farquhar.
She said the idea came about from staff talking to management about ways they could help conserve.
“It was just us bringing our minds together to see what we could do," said Farquhar.
Management said they stopped serving water using pitchers and stocked up on cases of water.
“We typically go through 50-60 cases a week," said Farquhar.
Translate that into gallons and their saving the city of Wichita Falls an estimate of 225 gallons a week and 900 gallons a month.
Todd Berry, a Wichita Falls resident, said using bottled water was a good decision by the restaurant. He said not only does it taste better, but puts less stress on the city’s water supply.
“You can bring it in from out-of-town. You're not using the water from here. So it’s actually saving water from the lake,” said Berry.
He believes that other businesses may follow their example.
"I think a lot other restaurants will start doing it too, after they see on the border is doing it,” said Berry.
Tarach isn not from Texoma, but said he sees the long term benefit.
"I'm all for it,” said Tarach. “It's something that more chains and people need to be aware of instead of using what you have."
On The Border management said they have gotten great feedback from the local community as well.
“They think wow restaurants are actually doing that to help conserve water,” said Farquhar.
The North Texas Restaurant Association is also encouraging restaurants to try to conserve.
Around Texoma some other restaurants are also making changes, not refilling customers cups with water unless they ask for a refill of water.