A new study forecasts that 69 percent of the water in the High Plains Aquifer in Kansas will be depleted within 50 years at current usage rates.
The paper by researchers at Kansas State University was published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. It focuses on the Ogallala aquifer in western Kansas.
The study estimates that 30 percent of the aquifer was depleted by 2010 and an additional 39 percent is expected to disappear by 2060.
A new EPA report to Congress says the nation's drinking water infrastructure will need $384 billion dollars worth of improvements over the next 20 years, including more than $4 billion in Kansas.
William Carr manages the revolving loan fund that finances drinking water projects in Kansas. He says most of the projects on the list are for transmission and distribution, especially the underground pipes that carry water to homes and businesses.
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.
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.