Texoma lake levels continue to decline

The City of Wichita Falls is approaching stage one of their drought plan.
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 6:55 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Lake levels continue to decline across Texoma, so the City of Wichita Falls is approaching stage one of their drought plan.

We’ve had 15 days of 100+ degree weather so far this summer and we aren’t even in July yet.

It looks like there are plenty more to come; that’s why city officials have been preparing for their drought plan. Even with the occasional rainfall we have received, the lake levels haven’t stood a chance.

“Ever since then, with the 100 degree temperatures, the wind and the low humidities, we have seen increased evaporation in our lakes so they continue to decline,” Daniel Nix, utilities operations manager for Wichita Falls, said.

The City of Wichita Falls is approaching their drought trigger with Lake Arrowhead currently sitting at 80% full and Lake Kickapoo sitting around 70%.

“The drought trigger is when the combined levels of Lake Kickapoo and Arrowhead reach 65%,” Nix said. “We are at 77%.”

Officials have been monitoring this problem for months now and have been working hard to filter water back into the lakes.

“Well we have increased the amount of water that we are bringing in from Lake Kemp and treating it through our reverse osmosis facility,” Nix said. “For every gallon that we bring in from Lake Kemp, it is a gallon that stays in the Kickapoo-Arrowhead system.”

This has been an extremely successful process since starting it back in 2018, discharging over seven billion gallons of water back into Lake Arrowhead.

“We will continue to do that through the remainder of this year,” Nix said. “If we do that, if we average that quarter of a million gallons every month, we will have put into Lake Arrowhead just over nine billion gallons by the end of this year.”

Nine billion gallons of water would be almost two years worth of supply in Wichita Falls, but the city can’t do it themselves. That’s why they have been pushing alerts through their website on how citizens can help.

“The biggest one is not to water between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., the heat of the day, the windiest part of the day,” Nix said. “So if you are spray irrigating during that time, if we find you we will issue you a warning citation.”

As of right now, you can water everyday of the week outside of those hours, but that will change if we enter stage one of the drought plan.

“At stage one, we will restrict how much you can irrigate,” Nix said. “Right now, you can irrigate seven days a week as long as you not doing it between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. At stage one, you will only be able to irrigate twice a week.”

It has been over a decade since the last time Wichita Falls began their drought plan.

“Stage one we entered in 2011, that was the last time,” Nix said. “That was the start of the last drought.”

Officials want to acknowledge the great work residents have been doing already and hope they keep it up.

They also do not want to worry anyone as they have better equipment, resources and knowledge of how to go about a drought compared to 2011. So if the city were to enter one again, they believe they are prepared to handle it.

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