As city leaders in Wichita Falls ended Stage 5 drought restrictions, they also ended the cloud seeding contract with SOAR officials on Tuesday. The changes took effect immediately.
Initially the contract was for six months, but city officials called it quits just two months in.
“We were disappointed,” Gary Walker, Owner of SOAR said.
He said because the lake levels have risen so much in such a short period of time, the city felt there was no need for their assistance in the drought. However, Walker feels they still could have contributed to the solution. Especially since Texoma is still in a drought.
“They're 54-percent full, but the other direction, they're 46-percent empty,” Walker said.
SOAR had three contracts until Tuesday making Wichita Falls the only place to cancel their contract.
“There's a program in South Texas that has suspended, in other words, quitting for the time being because they have also had a lot of rain,” Walker said.
Since Wichita Falls canceled the contract, they would have to come up with a new one if they wanted to start cloud seeding again.
Even though city ended the contract, Walker said it was successful. Every flight was worth it and in the end he said he respects the city's decision.
“There's always so many needs and so for right now they have considered that they have enough water to meet the needs for the near future, few years time,” Walker said.
Like all of Texoma, he is grateful for the rain Texoma has seen. He is also grateful to have helped in the drought situation.
“We certainly had an impact for the two, almost two months that we flew,” he said.
Since the contract was cut short, the cost will be less than expected. Walker explained they do not have an exact cost at the moment, but he said it will be under $100,000. Newschannel 6 reached out to city officials to find out if they knew, but we are waiting on a call back.
Many Texomans talked about the termination of the contract on the Newschannel 6 Facebook page. The majority commented that city officials made the right decision. However, some felt the contract was cut short with rain chances in the forecast.