Wichita Falls, TX is rapidly running out of water and is desperate to find another drinking water source. After 3 years of reduced rainfall, the city is 34 inches behind on precipitation and the two lakes that traditionally provide water are only 26% full. The city has put in place a Water Conservation and Drought Contingency Plan, including listing the city under a “Stage 4 Drought Disaster” area. While residents and business owners have cut their water use in half, water rates have gone up and a surcharge has been imposed on those who exceed the water limit.
Wichita Falls has already employed the technique of cloud seeding, where specific chemicals are dispersed into the atmosphere to increase cloud condensation, but cloud seeding has not produced the much needed rain they need. In an effort to use the water they have more efficiently, Wichita Falls is turned to the “Indirect Potable Reuse” project.
The Indirect Potable Reuse project will allow Wichita Falls to recycle treated toilet water and turn it into drinking water. If the $35 million budget is approved by state regulators, Wichita Falls hopes to take the wastewater from the local sewage plant purify and recycle it to Lake Arrowhead – which supplies drinking water – at a rate of 12 to 16 million gallons of water every day. California is currently combating their severe drought by expanding the use of their toilet-to-tap program. Orange County Water District actually first examined the idea in the mid-1990s and subsequently built the largest Groundwater Replenishment System of its type in the world. The current system processes about 70 million gallons of treated wastewater into pure, potable water every day and the district is working to increase to 100 million gallons within the next year.
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