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Wichita Falls Hoping to Get Support With Cloud Seeding Project

As lake levels keep dropping while no rain is in sight Wichita Falls officials are trying to find more ways to replenish our water supply.
As lake levels keep dropping while no rain is in sight Wichita Falls officials are trying to find more ways to replenish our water supply.

The latest project in that effort is researching the possibility of cloud seeding, adding silver iodide to clouds to try and get them to produce more rain.

They're hoping they can move forward with the project in the next few weeks, but there are still a lot of unknowns, like if they would go into a contract alone or with other counties.

So for now, they're getting the puzzle pieces in order so they can make a final decision.

“We've got to try to do something, we've exhausted all of our opportunities and all of our possibilities, we've got conservation, we've conserved as much water as we can possible conserve,” says Wichita Falls Public Works Director Russell Schreiber.

So they are hoping to get some support from other counties to make their newest option a reality.

“We asked the counties that would be in the target area that we think would benefit from cloud seeding,” says Schreiber.

That includes eight counties in the target area as well as AEP power and the Wichita County Irrigation District that would help Wichita Falls pay the 50- thousand- dollar a month tab.

“On an equal share basis at this point, I guess the next step is for them to go back and see if their budgets can stand that much and then we will just go from there and see how it develops,” says Schreiber.

50 thousand is the base price but it could vary month to month.

“If we ran up towards the end of the month and there was another opportunity arise and you were at the ceiling of the 50 thousand we may say you know what go ahead and make that shot because the following month could very well be less than 50 thousand,” says Schreiber.

Schreiber says right now they're unsure how much of that cost Wichita Falls could handle alone or how many groups have to be on board to move forward.

The clock is ticking to make a decision because of a fast approaching Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation deadline, so they're getting everything in line just in case.

“There's a permit application, notification and public notice, that type thing so we went ahead and did that in order to meet that deadline for the TDLR to meet on January 30th,” says Schreiber.

If they get approved to move forward and decide they have enough support, securing cloud seeding money could be on the city agenda as soon as next month.

Wichita Falls is currently working on a 6 month contract with Seeding Operations and Atmospheric Research if everything goes according to plan they could start cloud seeding in March.

We also spoke with a state meteorologist about the cloud seeding process click here to view that interview.
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