WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - Wichita Falls city leaders are celebrating national recognition after learning they are the only city in the state of Texas to be awarded the 2018 PISCES award.
The award was presented during Tuesday’s city council meeting where council members learned they are one out of five in the United States to be recognized.
"This is wonderful," said Mayor Stephen Santellana. "This is a significant award we've received coming from the EPA."
The award recognized the City of Wichita Falls for its outstanding water reuse project that was funded through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) after the catastrophic drought in 2011.
“The level at Lake Arrowhead was extremely low and the eyes of Texas were really upon the City of Wichita Falls and concerned that the community could run out of water,” said Kathleen Jackson, a board member for the Texas Water Development Board.
The Director of Public Works for the City of Wichita Falls, Russell Schreiber said now, every drop of water the city generates through its wastewater collection system is able to be captured, harvested, and put back into Lake Arrowhead.
"We're not allowing a valuable resource to escape into the environment and then be discharged downstream for someone else to use," said Schreiber.
Jackson believes what caught the Environmental Protection Agency’s attention was how quickly the city was able to address the water supply issue during the drought and put in a permanent solution through the water reuse project.
"You can have the money and have the technology but it's up to the leadership to take the bull by the horns and move projects forward and that's exactly what happened in Wichita Falls," said Jackson.
The CWSRF program has provided more than $125 billion in financing for water quality infrastructure nationally since 1987.