Protestors of the Lake Ringgold hearing speak out

Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 7:06 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The City of Wichita Falls is requesting a water permit which would give the city the okay to flood 16,000 acres of land by building a reservoir. Although landowners are against the project, the city said this will help for future droughts.

“I certainly would wish that the argument wouldn’t boil down to what’s best for the municipal users in the City of Wichita Falls and those of us that are landowners in Clay County,” said Deborah Clark, resident of Clay County.

Clark owns just under 12,000 acres of land but a good portion of that could be taken away if a permit is given to the City of Wichita Falls for the Lake Ringgold Project. If the permit is approved, people like Clark could be out of a home.

“Our ranch will be decimated if the reservoir is built. it will flood the east work of the Little Wichita River which runs through our ranch North to South and the ranch will basically be fragmented into three different pieces of land,” said Clark.

Clark is in danger of losing close to 2,000 acres. One official with the Texas Conservation Alliance said the city could flood 16,000 acres of land and do more damage than expected.

“Cattle ranching and other kinds of agricultural land and it also includes land that is native tall grass prairie. It’s the prairie that the buffalo used to run through and that sustain the Native American tribes that were in the area,” said Janice Benzanson, Senior Policy Direct of the Texas Conservation Alliance.

The cost of the reservoir is expected to be half a billion dollars. But who pays for that? The residents surrounding Wichita Falls. While the city said the project is needed to avoid future droughts.

“There had not been a updated budget and he didn’t ' know when one would be done but these are the numbers. We’re using 2016 numbers to move forward and we all know that those numbers would be way under if we had to build those reservoirs today,” said Clark.

“We feel this should only be built if it is absolutely necessary because the impacts are going to be horrendous we’ve been studying it for several years now and it is clear to Texas Conservation Alliance that this is reservoir is not needed,” said Benzanson.