New Wells In Burkburnett Will Keep Water In Area Lakes

New Wells In Burkburnett Will Keep Water In Area Lakes

Water wells in Burkburnett are officially online. Nine new pumps are generating the city 400,000 gallons of water per day, according to Burkburnett City Manager, Mike Whaley.

The city has an additional ten water wells awaiting approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Those ten wells will pump the city an additional 300,000 gallons a day.

More water generated within the city means Burkburnett will not need to purchase as much water from Wichita Falls. They currently receive 222,000 gallons a day from Wichita Falls. That's about 30% of the city's total water supply. However, with the new water production they will decrease that percentage significantly, according to Whaley.

"We realize that during the drought that if we were able to increase our water production for the city of Burkburnett it would help us to be more self-sufficient," said Whaley. "At the same time it would help the city of Wichita Falls relieve some pressure on their system."

Burkburnett spends a monthly amount of anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 each month to pay for the water from the city, according to Whaley. After all wells become operational that amount could be slashed, according to Whaley.

While the conservation of Wichita Falls water supply will keep area lakes fuller, Wichita Falls would lose an estimated $200,000 a year in water revenue, according to Jim Dockery, Assistant City Manager and Chief Financial Officer of Wichita Falls.

"I don't believe us increasing our production and lessening that revenue stream to Wichita Falls is going to have a huge impact on their overall revenue," said Whaley.

Burkburnett water purchases account for only 1% of Wichita Falls total revenue. While that percentage isn't extremely high, Dockery said it would still be a very significant loss.

"It's a double edged sword because if your positive on the supply side we would have more water in our lakes than what we would have had if they continued taking it from the city, buying water from the city," said Dockery. "But it does impact our financial picture in what we would have $200,000-$300,000 less revenue per year."
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Dockery said regardless of Burkburnett buying less water, Wichita Falls still has to keep up with constant expenses.

"We would have to monitor that and make sure that our revenues are hitting our targets and if they're not we would have to make adjustments on the expenditure side so that we could remain balanced," said Dockery.

He said the new fiscal year starts in October, that's when Wichita Falls will take a look at the money coming in and see what changes need to be made. The first thing they would do, if Burkburnett spends less each month, would be to defer small water projects. Things like water sewers repairs or water line repairs.

"This year we would have to kind of modify and adjust, and then subsequent year we would have to take that into consideration when we're determining the whole sale rate for other customers," said Dockery.

Once a year the water rate changes for whole sale water buyers from Wichita Falls. That includes places like Burkburnett, Iowa Park, Henrietta, or other area cities. That price can go up or down depending on the rate decided upon. If revenue goes down cities could see an increase in water rates, according to Dockery.

Burkburnett is expecting the additional ten wells to be approved the first week of October. Whaley said the city is even considering expanding, and building more water wells to generate an overall 1 Million gallons.

Brittany Costello, Newschannel 6