WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — It’s been on the forefront for Wichita Falls locals for about a month.

On Tuesday, September 19, 2023, city councilors voted six-to-one in favor of amending the contract with the new green hydrogen power plant.

Key changes to the contract include a tripled water rate, now sitting at $1.30 per 1,000 gallons. The contract term will run 40 years, and provisions to deal with drought restrictions are written into the contract.

“We look for those homerun projects in these regional projects as well as, you know, the in-house projects,” Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana said. “I think we’ve done a good job, and I know I can leave knowing that I’ve done the citizens good on this one and I don’t see me. I think the council has been able to make a really good decision in bringing in and changing this water contract.”

It could provide a chance for regional economic development as the new hydrogen production plant is set to bring in more than 2,000 jobs.

Many spoke in favor of the new amendment.

“I encourage your support and authorization for this amended agreement,” one resident said.

“The opportunity to maintain current infrastructure, pay down debt, increase pay and retention benefits for employees and implement more projects to conserve water,” added another resident.

“It is important to me that our community grows bringing new businesses and new people so our local economy continues to grow,” a third community member said.

Despite some support, others are still opposed.

“My plea to you would be to give careful consideration to this contract,” one resident said.

“I think it would be a good idea to table this vote and discuss it. Why sell water to somebody that’s just going to sell it to someone else,” another resident stated.

Though the contract has been amended, it isn’t the final step. Now, there’s a small waiting period before the change takes place.

“The next step in getting that contract for OPS and air power out in Wilbarger County so they can finally get their 20,000-acre feet of water,” Santellana said.

Plans continue to unfold as the city looks to help grow the economy at a regional level by providing the water the plant needs.