WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Engineer and Iowa Park farmer Joe Orender has come up with a couple of creative ways to conserve water. He takes condensed water from his air conditioner and sends it to a bucket where he collects it and uses it for his garden and uses it to keep his chickens hydrated.
He first came up with the idea in 2014 out of necessity to conserve water during what became the most devastating drought in the history of Wichita Falls. It lasted 5 years from 2010 to 2015 and even impacted surrounding cities. After the drought ended, Orender decided to keep using his inventions.
He said, "You're saving water that would otherwise go into the ground or the sewer and not be used."
The Wichita Falls Director of Public Works, Russel Schreiber said people are using less water today. Before the drought up to 30 million gallons of water was used a day. Schreiber said, "Today we're treating somewhere around 18 to 20 at the maximum. I think people's watering and water use habits have changed now that's not to say every year ever since the drought was over the water consumption has crept up slightly."
With no immediate threat of an extreme drought like 3 years ago, many say the pressure to find new ways to conserve has gone down, leaving people like George Berre – who owns a water well constriction company – feeling left out to dry.
Berre said, "In May of 2015 when the month started I had 80 people waiting on me to drill water wells. It rained the entire month. At the end of the month I had zero people waiting on me to drill them water wells. Since then I have drilled one water well."
But for people like Orender, creating their own ways to conserve has its benefits. He said, "By saving water, by rain water and air conditioning water, you use less water from the system. If I couldn't save rain water and air conditioning water, then I probably couldn't have a very big garden."