WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Challenges to the City of Wichita Falls’ permit to build a new reservoir for future water needs are now being filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
As of 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 25, there appear to be more than two dozen challenge requests to be heard when TCEQ considers the city’s request for a water rights permit for Lake Ringgold.
Almost all of those requests are from ranchers and land owners who expressed concern that the proposed lake will adversely affect their livelihood, homes and property.
One rancher said the lake would inundate a large portion of the ranch that’s been in their family more than a century.
Another property owner said the lake would destroy historically and archaeologically significant sites, such as Native American campgrounds and a “rock crossing” dating back to 1852.
Others are concerned about habitat valuable for hunting and the threat to endangered wildlife, such as the horned toad, whooping crane and red headed woodpeckers.
The Texas Conservation Alliance said it will also contest the permit.
City officials who filed for the permit maintain the reservoir is vital to the future water needs of Wichita Falls, especially if a drought similar to the devastating 2011 drought were to occur again.
Public Works Director Russell Schreiber estimated that Wichita Falls will be 11,000 acre feet short of water by the year 2070.
The regional water plan estimate of the cost is $443 million, which Schreiber disputes as too high.