WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Stage one drought watch is in effect for Wichita Falls as lake levels at Kickapoo and Arrowhead fall below 65%.

“Right now it’s all about thinking and working to conserve by getting those habits built back up again that we had in the previous drought,” city of Wichita Falls Public Information Officer Chris Horgen said.

The previous drought being from 2011 until 2015 when lake levels dipped to 20%. Though Horgen said there’s no need to press the red button, this stage is about education and conservation.

“The more we conserve the more we can stretch out that 65 to 50 percent, where stage two would kick in, the better off we are. We’re just asking everybody to do their part. Just hang in there, develop some of those great habits. Don’t run the water when you brush your teeth, and make sure that washing machine and dishwasher are full when you need to do them,” Horgen said.

Spring is a few months away and Michael Fiore with Smith’s Gardentown said business is still good despite stage one in place.

Depending on the future outcome, the garden might stock up on a few drought-resistant plants.

“We will always have a better and more confident customer base whenever the lakes are full. Especially for those customers that lived here throughout the bad drought because they’re going to remember having lost plants and they’re going to be hesitant in wanting to buy more plants,” Fiore said.

Fiore said there are still ways to conserve while tending to plants, such as knowing how long plants can go without water and not over-watering.

“If you can dial back those sprinklers, make sure everything is working properly and get some more watering by targeting hand watering. Your plants are going to be healthier in the long run and you’re going to conserve more water,” Fiore said.

Conserve water until rain comes and fill the lakes.

As of Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, lake levels were slightly below 65%.

Click here to visit the city’s website to learn more tips and keep track of water usage.