water

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A Kansas House representative from Wichita says among the priorities for the Legislature should be more funding for the state water plan.

As the ranking minority member of the newly formed Water and Environment Committee, Rep. Ponka-We Victors says she's been pushing and advocating for additional money for water projects.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Pretty Prairie, Kansas, population 680, had a moment in the spotlight during the confirmation hearings for new Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt.

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran mentioned Pretty Prairie as an example of a community that’s struggling because of EPA regulations that Pruitt could ease.

But residents of the tiny south-central Kansas town are also concerned about how federal budget cuts might affect their ability to pay for a new water treatment system.

City of Wichita

Stormwater service charges are going up for Wichita residents.

City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to increase the drainage fee rate for all Wichita customers, with residents bearing more of the cost increase.

Right now, all customers are charged $2 per month, with commercial property owners paying an additional fee based on their amount impervious surface -- property where water can't soak into the ground. The new system will charge a base rate of $1.50 per month, and begin charging residents based on actual square footage of impervious surface.

jim212jim / flickr Creative Commons

The City of Wichita’s water rebate program, now in its 5th year, begins on Monday.

The city is offering residents across Wichita cash rebates if they purchase devices—such as dishwashers and toilets—that conserve water. A low-flow toilet, for example, can earn a household up to $100 from the city. Other eligible items include rain barrels, irrigation controllers and clothes washers.

Don Henry, assistant director of public works and utilities, said Thursday that the rebate program helps the city conserve water in case of a drought down the road.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Tuesday directing the Environmental Protection Agency to revise a controversial environmental rule opposed by many Midwest farm groups.

Trump ordered new EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to formally revise the Obama Administration’s 2015 Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the U.S. Rule, which was meant to explain which rivers, streams and creeks are subject to regulation by the EPA.

Luke Runyon, file photo / Harvest Public Media

A federal court has sided with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and against environmental groups in a case the groups had hoped would hasten water clean-up efforts.

The Gulf Restoration Network and environmental groups from Mississippi River watershed states argued the EPA needs to enforce more specific water quality standards. But, on appeal, a U.S. District Court ruled the Clean Water Act leaves that authority to the states.

Iowa Environmental Council’s Susan Heathcote says that’s going to put more pressure on local efforts.

Fred Knapp / Harvest Public Media

A proposal that would jumpstart the chicken business in Nebraska has some residents concerned about the potential impact on the environment and are trying to block or delay its construction.

Costco, the warehouse retailer and grocery chain, plans to build a giant $300 million chicken slaughterhouse on the south side of the town of Fremont in eastern Nebraska.

Joscarfas / flickr Creative Commons

Wichita residents and businesses can expect to see a slight increase in their water and sewer rates next year.

The Wichita City Council approved a water rate increase of 4 percent, and a sewer rate increase of 5 percent for a combined 4.4 percent increase. It’s less than the rate increase approved last year.

mcdarius, flickr Creative Commons

A task force seeking a way to fund Gov. Brownback’s 50-year water plan appears close to recommending that a small percentage of state sales tax revenue be earmarked for up to $55 million a year in conservation projects.

Rep. Tom Sloan is a Lawrence Republican and a member of the task force. He agrees with the goal but fears the state’s budget problems will make any plan that diverts revenue a tough sell.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

When heavy rains wash through farm country, chemicals from agricultural fields spill into small tributaries and eventually make their way to the Gulf of Mexico. That’s created an environmental disaster. For Harvest Public Media’s special series “Watching Our Water,” Kristofor Husted reports on new research into combating the problem.

Farming in the fertile Midwest is tied to an environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But scientists are studying new ways to lessen the Midwest’s environmental impact and improve water quality.

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