Wichita Falls Hoping to Get Rights to Reuse Water in Lake Arrowhead

- Wichita Falls water users should be drinking the reuse water in just over two weeks!

And as the temporary, emergency reuse project wraps up,  plans are already underway for the permanent project that will discharge water into Lake Arrowhead.

On Tuesday city councilors will look at a resolution that would give the city full control of the reuse water they put back into the lake.

Without the amendment that water would technically belong to the state when it is returned to the lake.

And if the water is under state control that means someone else could apply for water rights and take the reuse water.

The resolution would keep the water rights for the city.

Before the permanent water reuse project can begin, many permits need to be put in place.

We have to acquire 15 miles of right of way, which means survey, documents prepared, meet with the property owners.

Including a water right that makes Wichita Falls the sole owner of the reuse water it returns into Lake Arrowhead.

“When we take the reuse water and put it back into the lake, into that water body, theoretical on paper it becomes waters of the state again, which means it's unappropriated water,” says Public Works Director Russell Schreiber.

Schreiber says loosing that reuse water is not a risk the city is willing to take so they are hoping to amend their water right before the permanent project gets started.

But that project is still years in the making.

That's why the city decided to get the emergency project up and running first.

“When we started this we knew if the drought continued, we weren't gonna have time to do that, we needed that 5 million gallons of water a day in the system as soon as possible,” says Schreiber.

So they found a way to make it work..

Taking the water from the River Road Waste Water Treatment Plant, down a pipe that runs 12 miles along Holliday Creek to the Cypress Water Treatment Plant where it is filtered 4 times and sent straight back to homes and businesses.

A process the city hopes will start on May 1st. 

Schreiber says they hope to get the permit for the permanent project from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality by June and could start bidding the project by early next year.

Upgrades will need to be made at the Cypress Water Treatment Plant before the permanent project can begin but the city is already working with a consultant to get them taken care of and Schreiber says he does not expect the work to be extensive. 

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