More Texoma towns are involved in cloud seeding operations when compared to last year.
This has many people wondering who pays for what. While there is a possibility that a clouded seeded in one area could benefit another, it is not double dipping.
Each project has a zone or a designated area. SOAR officials make sure they are sticking to it. Each project has their own goal they are trying to reach, so they could be cloud seeding for different reasons. For the Wichita Falls project, the goal is on Lake Arrowhead and Lake Kickapoo watersheds.
“That's where we really want rain to fall primarily,” Gary Walker, the owner of SOAR said, “If there's not target there, then we can move on to something in the Kemp watershed.”
For this particular project there are four partners involved.
“The Wichita County, the Water Improvement District 2, the Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and the Waggner Ranch,” Teresa Rose, Wichita Falls Public Works said.
Every month the city gets an initial bill for $36,800 and each partner involved pays their portion of the bill, which was agreed on before the contract was signed.
“Three of them participate with $5,000 per month and the Waggner Ranch participates with $1,500 per month,” Rose said.
The initial bill covers the cost for the plane, the pilot, and the meteorologist. Then there is another bill that comes in every month depending on how many times SOAR officials take to the skies.
“Anytime they do a fly and flare, we are invoiced for the particular fuel and flares,” she said.
The city foots the bill and then sends an invoice out to the partners telling them how much they owe.
Walker said each project will pay for the cost in their own way, but each program pays separately. So, there is no chance of double dipping with all of the projects SOAR is managing.
For example, Lawton has their own cloud seeding project going on. If clouds were forming in Wichita County, but were heading that direction instead of to the watersheds, officials in Wichita County would not go up to seed the clouds. However, Lawton officials could decide to seed the same clouds, but it would be at their own cost.
“They have their own separate contract with them and they have their own separate plane, pilot, meteorologist, and so forth,” Rose said.
City officials in Wichita Falls said the initial operation cost decreased $3,00 this year. This is because more of the equipment was already in place.
“We're hoping that we'll see some savings and actually get more bang for our buck on each operation,” she said.