Learning To Live In The Desert
When I moved to Wichita Falls in the mid 80’s from the desert city of El Paso, I did not think I would ever see a lack of rain. There were trees and green grass everywhere in Wichita Falls. It seemed like it rained often and certain parts of the city regularly flooded. The area lakes, even Lake Wichita, teemed with fish and supported recreation.
As we are all aware, that has changed in the last few years. I have learned that this area suffers periodic drought and even though this drought has been unprecedented, what we are seeing is not necessarily abnormal.
Our city officials have been working over the last few years to address our lack of water. Our population in 1950, the last major drought, was around 98,000. We are at about 104,000 now. That tells me that our population, with the right collective conservation can make it through this tough time.
I don’t know a single person who is not making concessions to conserve water including buckets in the shower and the “RV” style shower. The “RV” shower is a wet down, turn water off, lather up then rinse and uses very little water compared to the conventional shower. The city has shown that we, as a city, have been consistent in keeping our usage down. We are far below water use of other cities our size and have been somewhat fortunate to get a little bit of rain to give our landscape and foundations some water.
It is hard to remain positive as we near the dreaded 20% lake level that will shut down every car wash in town, Also difficult is hearing about friends who are considering moving and the hot days of July that have zero forecasted days of rain.
Those of us who are tied to the community by our businesses, jobs and families have little choice except to wait, hope and pray. We must put our confidence in the hands of those who will help us make the best use of what water we have left. It will mean some hard choices like business closures or revamping the business to keep it viable in a “desert” community.
Here’s hoping El Nino gets here soon.