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Drought May Cause Some Pools to Close

As outdoor temperatures continue rising more and more people are looking forward to that first cold, refreshing splash into the swimming pool.
As outdoor temperatures continue rising more and more people are looking forward to that first cold, refreshing splash into the swimming pool.

In Wichita Falls, a ban on use of city water to fill home and organization's pools could come with Stage 5 restrictions.

Camp Fire, the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA all have swimming pools that are popular during the summer, especially for those who don't have their own pools.

And now, they and all pool owners possibly face a long hot summer without a source of water to fill and refill the pools.

Having a splash is what summer fun is all about but this type of fun could dry up in Wichita Falls, which has organizations, like the YMCA, already planning for the worst.

"The rules and regulations state that if we go into Stage 5 they have to close this particular location, but we do have two indoor pools that we are trying to restructure our program around to accommodate most of the people in Wichita Falls," says Ronnie Williams, vice president for operations of the Wichita Falls YMCA.

Although everyone will have no choice but adapt one child care teacher says it will be a challenge for small children.

"It's gonna be really hard cause they don't understand guidelines and what's really happening. They just don't understand why we can't go to the water and play in the water," says Yashica Gavaldon, three year old lead teacher at the Bill Bartley Branch Family YMCA.

The whole situation has public health officials flooded with calls.

"We have received a lot of calls asking what can we do and what can't we do and currently we are working with city officials on some guideline on public swimming pools," says Susan Morris, environmental health administrator for the Wichita Falls - Wichita County Public Health District.

Since city water will not be available to fill swimming pools the "Y" is already making plans to keep it's two indoor pools open.

"I'm putting exhaust fans in all of them right now so that water will stay there.  We have little evaporation at both pools if we keep the temperature right and as long as we truck in water, to my understanding, we will be able to function," Williams explains.

Function-- while allowing limited water fun this summer.

Boys & Girls Club officials say they're looking into having a well drilled to keep their indoor pool filled.

And... Officials with Fain Pool tell me they are looking at keeping their outdoor pool open through a combination of well water and having e it hauled in.

As for the city's guidelines for public pools, the health district expects to have those available to the public sometime next week.

Now we did speak with one local hotel who says they are waiting to make decision on what to do with their pool until city leaders officials set stage 5 regulations.

But management at the La Quinta Inn did say in the mean time they are doing what they can to conserve water, they are currently having a plaque made that will hang in the lobby and inform guests on the seriousness of the drought, it will say

“Dear guests, the city of Wichita Falls has been experiencing an extended drought since 2011.

We are being asked as a valued business partner to assist in conserving the available city water by voluntarily preforming some conservation measures in conjunction with the city.

Any cooperation on your behalf by limiting the amount of water use during your stay would be appreciated by the citizens of Wichita Falls as well as La Quinta Inns & Suites. “

Public Works Director Russel Schreiber says other hotels are working on similar signs as well.

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