After Years of Study and Debate Lake Ringgold is a Possibility

- With the city so dependent on three lakes that keep falling lower and lower, leaders are ready to look at adding a fourth lake to increase the water supply of future generations.

Last year the city started a Lake Ringgold feasibility study in partnership with the Tarrant Water District.

Tuesday the outcome of that study was presented to city leaders and the findings show that Lake Ringgold is a viable water source.

So after years of debate the mayor says it's time to go forward with the Ringgold project.

It's been studied since 1957, but original plans to build Lake Ringgold north of Henrietta were passed on and Lake Arrowhead was built instead.

Now Ringgold is back on the table, but the details still need to be hammered out.

“It's very encouraging, but I do believe it's definitely a viable water supply for the city of Wichita Falls and all of our wholesale customers in the future and we'll have to try and figure out how we move forward from here,” says Wichita Falls Director of Public Works Russell Schreiber.

Those details could include partnering with other cities to help with the cost. Right now just building the lake is estimated to cost almost 230 million dollars,  not counting the cost of getting water to Wichita Falls.

“To bring the water to the city of Wichita Falls, could be another 100 million dollars to get the water over here, we need to decide if that's a project the city of Wichita Falls wants to take on themselves or if it's something we'd want to partner with someone with."

Taking on the project alone could mean water prices tripling.

And while it would be about the same size of Lake Arrowhead which took 6 years to build, Ringgold is expected to take 15-20 years, because permitting rules are very different then they were in the 60's when Arrowhead was built.

“Now there's an extensive environmental investigation and mitigation requirements, there's archeological investigation and mitigation requirements, there's 404 permitting through the federal government, that's the Army Corps of Engineers,” says Schreiber.

The Public Works Department hopes to have some answers on when construction might start and other questions by next month.

Now if proposition six passes, pulling money from the rainy day fund to be used for waters project, Schreiber says this is the perfect project for some of that money.

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