Steamed Residents Address W.F. Leaders on Closing Fill Station

Nearly 20 years ago, the City of Wichita Falls set up the Reilly Road Water Tower so newly annexed residents could buy discounted water for home use.
However, now that water is in short supply city leaders say many are misusing that fill station.
And as Mechell Dixon reports, discussion during this morning's city council meeting about restricting use had some residents pouring out their comments.

"We do not have access to a water line.  Our only access to water is from the water tower on Reilly Road.  Now, having this shut down, we are put in a tremendous predicament here," says Wichita Falls resident, Gary Duncan.

"You are voting to shut down our water tower so you then will have a monopoly on the water," adds Gary Duncan, who lives in Wichita County.

These comments made to Wichita Falls city councilors did not fall on deaf ears.
Leaders listened attentively to city and county residents who depend on the Reilly Road Fill Station for water but Mayor Glenn Barham says councilors were looking into closing it because of abuse.

"City staff actually posted a staff member out there one Saturday for a couple of hours.  Fifteen people came to get water at that fill station.  Of the 15 two lived in the annexed area.  Thirteen lived outside the annexed areas and of those 13 there was one, I think, from Oklahoma that came down here to get water," says Mayor Barham.

The mayor says the amount of water purchased at the fill station has been on the rise over the past year.
He says in July of 2012 users bought 267,000 gallons of water from the fill station and in August the amount rose to 282,000 gallons.
But Mayor Barham says this July, the amount rose to 54,000 gallons and in August-- 628,000 gallons.
Both of those numbers represent an increase of more than 100 %.

"So, that's some of the reasons that the city chose to... announce the closure of the water station," says Mayor Barham.

However, after hearing public comments, city leaders leaders decided to not close the fill station yet and instead, discuss options on how to restrict its use for those in which it was intended.
Mechell Dixon... KFDX 3 News.

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