Although the drought lingers in Texas and other Western states, Wichita Falls has taken a very proactive approach.
They are currently the only U.S. city to serve recycled wastewater to homes.
Wichita Falls relies on reservoirs and continues to be under a Stage 5 drought emergency. Last year they began reusing treated wastewater to boost their dwindling drinking supplies.
This year they are hoping to tap into the Wichita River, which has previously been used only for irrigation.
Water Online reports:
“Despite its progressive attitude toward water management, Wichita Falls is still feeling the heat. Its three reservoirs are 20, 25, and 28 percent full, according to the state’s Water Development Board.
State regulators recently granted Wichita Falls permission to continue using its direct potable reuse system for another year.
“The city received notice that its new UV barrier had met all requirements for renewal. The city has been using the direct potable system, which introduces purified, recycled water into the potable water supply distribution system downstream of a water treatment plant or into the raw water supply immediately upstream of a water supply plant, to help bolster low water supplies due to severe drought in the city. The ultraviolet barrier works as a part of the system,” the Associated Press reported.”
Public Works Director Russell Schreiber admits that it may be difficult to treat the river water, but he assures the public that the city will not let the public use water that has not been thoroughly tested and treated first.
It is good to see a city the size of Wichita Falls, TX innovating with its water delivery and water demand management – many other small cities could take a leaf from Wichita’s book.
Inframanage.com observes that effectively managing water demand in drought situations requires using a range of infrastructure asset management tools, which can include ‘thinking outside the box’ and innovating.
These infrastructure asset management demand management tools can include:
- Water metering
- Restricted supply
- Public education around reducing water demand
- On-premise changes – such as encouraging the purchase of low water use appliances, and dual-flush cisterns
- Yard hosing restrictions
- Leakage control programs – both for the utility and on customer premise
- Water re-use
- On-premise water storage (rain tanks)
- Low water use gardens
- More water use efficient public and private irrigation systems
Determining the right mix of strategies for managing current and future predicted demand, across a range of climatic conditions, is an integral component of infrastructure asset management.
PHOTO CREDIT: Nicolas Henderson via Flickr Creative Commons License