After having already attempted to make it rain with cloud-seeding and, failing there, gaining approval to recycle waste water into drinking water, Wichita Falls Texas has entered a new realm in innovative methods for dealing with the persistent drought in northwest Texas.
To slow the pace of evaporation at Lake Arrowhead, the primary water resource used by the city, a biodegradable palm oil-and-lime-based product is being added to the surface of the lack to, in effect, put a lid on the lake. The current rate of evaporation is running at 40 million gallons a day and the process is expected to reduce that by at least 10%.
It is yet another effort by the city, which provides water to 150,000 people just south of the Oklahoma border, to address the current drought. Wichita Falls is more than 40 inches behind on rainfall over the past 46 months, in an area that doesn’t get much precipitation annually, and hasn’t begun to recover from the severe drought of 2011. Beyond the cloud-seeding and waster water reuse, the city has also banded all outside watering.
The 75-day pilot project is costing the city #375,000 and the “lid” must be redone every three days.
Lake Arrowhead covers 17,000 acres when full but now covers only 6,000 acres and is 22% full.