WF water reuse project to be online by end of the week

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Some parts of Texoma have gone over a hundred days without seeing significant rainfall.

The most impacted counties are in west Texas. It's been three weeks since Wichita Falls and Lawton has seen more than a quarter inch of rain in one setting.

With La Niña, forecasts below average rainfall could lengthen this trend.

With those drought conditions beginning to creep in, the timing couldn't be better for Wichita Falls to complete their water reuse project.

If everything goes well the next couple days, it should be online by the end of the week.

The last drought is fresh in so many minds. City leaders want people to know just how much this new system will help.

"The next drought that comes along certainly won't cause as much of an impact on the city as the previous drought did," Director of Public Works, Russell Schreiber said.

Water is the lifeblood of a city.

"If you don't have a water system for a municipality, you don't have a city," Schreiber said.

You don't know how important it is until it's gone. Many Texoma residents know that all too well from the last drought. That's why Schreiber is so excited about the timing of finishing the project.

"The current climatic conditions are projecting above normal temperatures and below normal rain for the next six to eight months," he said. "This is a very opportune time to bring this project online."

The indirect potable reuse project, that's expected to be up and running by the end of the week, won't make Wichita Falls drought proof, but drought resistant.

"It's a tremendous boost to our economy," Schreiber said. "It's a tremendous boost to the confidence of the public in our water supply."

Schreiber said some people are concerned about the quality of the water. He says not to worry.

"If we're jeopardizing our water supply or the safety of our water, we wouldn't have ever even considered it," Schreiber said. "This has been going on in the county for centuries. People discharge water into the stream or reservoir and someone else picks it up and uses it as drinking water. Anything we can do to make that supply more reliable, more drought resistant, that's what we intend to do."

The 17-mile pipeline will run from the River Road Wastewater Treatment Plant to Lake Arrowhead. It will keep lake arrowhead's level at 60 percent 98 percent of the time.

Schreiber said it could take another month or two to completely finish the project. He said there are some minor things that need to be done. But water will be pumping and that's most important.

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