There was a significant development this weekend with water levels at Cheney Reservoir.
Last Thursday's storm created heavy drainage into the lake, causing the level to rise from 64 percent last Thursday to 72 percent on Saturday. As of Monday morning, Cheney is up more than 13,000 acre feet of water since before the rain event last Thursday.
Kansas farm groups will host a ranch tour next month, focusing on drought and how to best manage resources in the upcoming grazing season.
The tour will take place on May 11 at the Ted Alexander Ranch, 19 miles west of Medicine Lodge.
The Alexander ranch covers 7,000 acres in the heart of the Red Hills in Barber County. The operation typically stocks between 500 and 700 cow-calf pairs or 2,500 yearlings on a rotational grazing method.
Kansas farmers are getting ready to seed their spring crops, with a few fields of corn already planted in eastern sections.
The latest report by the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service also said spring calving is nearly finished in the state. Livestock producers are still worried about having enough stock water. Supplies are reported as "adequate" in just 36 percent of Kansas.
South-central Kansas got some welcomed rain in the past week. But drought-stricken pastures have yet to recover statewide, with 77 percent now reported in poor to very poor condition.
The city of Wichita has scheduled six public meetings to get input from residents on how to respond to prolonged drought conditions. Officials want to gather information about how people are being affected by the drought and to generate ideas for extending the water supply.
“We’re looking for water utility customers, both residential and business, to weigh in on the issue,” said Ben Nelson, strategic services manager for Wichita's Public Works and Utilities.
A Water Usage and Conservation meeting was held Tuesday at Wichita’s Central Library, organized by the League of Women Voters. A three-member panel addressed questions about the future of Wichita's water supply including concerns about Cheney Reservoir.
Cheney provides 60 percent of the city's water supply and if the drought continues is projected to run dry by August 2015.
“We are going into a three year drought," says Ben Nelson, Strategic Services Manager for Wichita’s Public Works & Utilities Department.