Wichita Falls Set to Go to Stage 2 Drought Warning on June 11th
Rain has been a scarce commodity around Wichita Falls and surrounding areas for quite some time now. Last year's record breaking summer was not kind to the water levels of our lakes and they have been unable to fully recover. Despite several recent downpours, the combined total water level of Lake Arrowhead and Lake Kickapoo has dropped down to almost 50%. The city has been in Stage 1 Drought Watch since last summer and is now being forced to upgrade to Stage 2 Drought Warning starting Monday, June 11th.
The City of Wichita Falls will be sending out a letter to all water customers informing them of the need to call a Stage 2 Drought Warning with a water zone rationing map and a copy of the water restrictions ordinance. The goal of a Stage 2 Drought Warning is to reduce total water usage throughout the city by 15%. The following restrictions will be put in place to help make that happen:
- All irrigation (residential and commercial) will be reduced to once a week, Monday through Friday, based on the Water Rationing Zone Map
- No washing vehicles unless at a commercial car wash, dealership, automotive shop or detail shop.
- Fundraising car washes are prohibited.
- Driveways, patios and sidewalks cannot be washed unless an immediate health or safety risk is present
Furthermore, year round rules and restrictions are still in place and include:
- Absolutely no spray/sprinkler watering from 11:am to 6:pm.
- Soaker hoses, drip irrigation and bubblers can be used anytime
- Hand watering can be done anytime but the hose MUST have an attachment with a shutoff nozzle
The city will be enforcing the new restrictions with a fine of $25 for the first offense, up to $500 for the second offense and up to $1,000 for the third offense. Citizens are urged to help assist with adherence to the new restrictions by calling the Water Restrictions Hotline at 940-761-7477 if they witness any restricted water usage taking place. Callers do not have to identify themselves. Simply provide an address and city crews can investigate the location. The hotline number is answered Monday through Friday from 8:am to 5:pm. The after-hours and weekend number for reporting violations is 720-5000.
Public Works Director Russell Schreiber said,
This is going to take a team effort. The water situation is serious and it is imperative that the citizens and City work together to protect and preserve our water supply. We have to conserve the water we have and that will only happen if everyone follows the year round and Stage 2 restrictions we have in place."
The City of Wichita Falls will also adhere to the new water restrictions by doing the following:
- Non-essential use of water by the City will be suspended including street sweeping, flushing mains, jetting sewer lines and fire fighter training
- Parks will reduce unattended irrigation watering to once a week
- Water leaks (raw or potable) will be repaired immediately
- Distribution pressure will be reduced
Wichita Falls Mayor Glenn Barham said,
This is getting serious. We have to conserve our water supply, period. If we work together and adhere to the all the restrictions, we’ll make it through this challenge but the citizens have to recognize that without sufficient rain our water supply will continue to diminish and the chances of the City having to implement even more severe water restrictions will be very real."
According to the city, the most efficient way to water is by using a soaker hose, drip irrigation or a bubbler. These watering systems use less water, are not susceptible to wind, can be more accurately directed so plants get watered and not the street, sidewalk or driveway and they do not launch water into the air, much of which evaporates before hitting the ground. Traditional sprinklers waste water through evaporation, over watering, blowing wind and misdirected watering.
For complete water conservation tips, watering techniques, water restrictions and details about Stage 1-4 drought plans visit the City of Wichita Falls Website or call 761-7401.