By Matt KeltonPioneer Sentinel
With lake levels at a combined 40 percent capacity, the City of Wichita Falls entered stage 3 water restrictions today. But new restrictions in Wichita Falls will not affect the City of Henrietta.
“It doesn’t affect us because we don’t buy water from Wichita Falls,” said Kelly Bloodworth, Henrietta city administrator. “Communities who do will have to also increase their water restrictions.”
Bloodworth sees the sale of water by Wichita Falls to surrounding communities as part of a problem. Lake Arrowhead was constructed in 1965 as a water source for Wichita Falls, but the city has in the last 20 years started selling treated water to surrounding municipalities.
Wichita Falls pulls water from two reservoirs, Lake Kickapoo in Archer County and Lake Arrowhead in Clay County, both impoundments on the Little Wichita River. Henrietta pumps water from the Little Wichita to a city reservoir, requiring a release of water from Lake Arrowhead.
Because Lake Arrowhead is impoundment of the river that supplies Henrietta’s water, the city has rights to the water before the City of Wichita Falls. Henrietta is guaranteed 1,560 acre-feet per year.
The City of Henrietta is in stage 3 of its drought contingency plan, which requires residents to alternate days on which they can water.
“If we don’t get some runoff before the hotter temperatures get here, then we will have to go to a higher stage,” said Bloodworth. “Right now, there’s not a whole lot people can do to cut down.”
At this time of year, residents are using only “inside” water, and have still been able to conserve, said Bloodworth. In January, city residents used less water as a whole than in the same month last year.
If Henrietta is forced into stage 4 water restrictions, it will come in April or May, when residents begin to water lawns and gardens. Stage 4 forbids outdoor watering.