Evaporation Suppressant Testing Begins at Lake Arrowhead

As area lakes continue to shrink, Wichita Falls city officials are doing all they can to lessen
the long term impacts of the relentless drought that has plagued Texoma since the end of 2010.

Before sunrise Thursday morning, a crew at Lake Arrowhead took advantage of the mild summer
morning to launch the latest project hoping to stretch our water supply.

Evaporation accounts for the biggest loss of water in our lakes. City officials hope a lime and
palm oil based anti-evaporation powder called Watersavr can help slow it down.

Russell Schreiber, Wichita Falls Public Works Director says, “This won't stop evaporation entirely.
It's only been tested and proven it will reduce about 30%. So, it's not like we are taking all the
evaporation away from Lake Arrowhead. If we were to get 10% we think we would be doing good
so to speak. That's about 4 million gallons of water a day we could potentially conserve.”

Schreiber says that is almost one third of how much water we use in a day.

Watersavr is EPA approved and biodegradable. It is already used in small ponds and swimming
pools to reduce evaporation. But, it has never been tested on such a large body of water
such as Lake Arrowhead.

Crews mapped out a 5,000 acre area of Lake Arrowhead to distribute the powder over a
70 to 75-day period at a cost of $375,000.

The powder is mixed with lake water into a slurry and then spread over the lake from the
back of a boat.

The slurry is advertised to create a microfilm on the lake's surface that lasts about 48 to 72 hours.

“We want to put down one pound per acre for every three days. We are estimating roughly 5000
acres of surface area so we need to put down 5,000 pounds every 3 days,” says Schreiber.

The test may determine how well the powder performs on a larger scale, and under Texoma's
extreme weather conditions.

Schreiber says the state water development board will assist the city of Wichita falls with
monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness.

Results of the study are not expected to be available for several months.

But, Schreiber says they can't wait before taking action.

“Desperate times call for innovative action. Innovative measures.”

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