WICHITA FALLS, Texas (CNN/KTVT) — What would it take for you to drink tap water that had been recycled straight from the sewer?
Well, it could soon happen in Wichita Falls, a Texas city about two hours from Dallas. It’s facing severe water shortage and is looking for solutions; they’re literally running out of water.
“This reuse project will put 5 million gallons a day back in the distribution steam, so it saves us taking 5 million gallons out of the lake,” said Wichita Falls Mayor Glenn Barham.
Lake Arrowhead is the city’s main water source and is only 27 percent full, but when it started looking more like a dust bowl two years ago, city leaders reached out to the state about the possibility of recycling sewer water straight to the tap.
“We evaluated the wastewater first to see what we were going to have to be dealing with,” said Wichita Falls Public Utilities Operations Manager Daniel Nix.
It turns out the treated wastewater wasn’t all that bad, and it wouldn’t take much to turn it into drinking water.
“The only missing piece of that puzzle was the pipeline connecting the wastewater plant to the water treatment plant,” said Nix.
With that pipe now in place, the city is doing tests so that the state will sign off on the project.
Nix said he would drink the water and let his children drink it as well.
“Absolutely. We’re all living downstream from somebody,” he said. “So we, in essence, are all already doing reuse.”
City leaders said after years of higher water bills and increasing water restrictions, most residents get it.
“I think you can get used to it,” said one neighbor.
“I’m happy about it because we’re concerned here about our water levels and whether or not we’re going to have water,” said another.