water conservation

mcdarius, flickr Creative Commons

The Governor's Conference on Water will be held next week in Manhattan, Kansas. The two-day conference will focus on the vision for the future of Kansas' water supply.

The conference will address many water-related issues and will help identify or create ways that people can learn about and act on water planning and conservation.

Topics include:

gumotorg, flickr Creative Commons

The state will have series of 26 public meetings across Kansas this month to set regional water supply goals and priorities.

Trained facilitators from Kansas State University Research and Extension and the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy will help facilitate the public meetings.

14 regional water leadership teams will create water supply goals based on public input and available resources.

The regional water supply goals that they draft will be presented to the Kansas Water Authority in May.

Workers with the Kansas Geological Survey are hitting the road this month to check groundwater levels in central and western Kansas.

Rex Buchanan, with the KGS, says lessening drought conditions may lead to less aquifer depletion then they’ve seen in recent years. He says irrigation is one of the main uses of water from the aquifer.

“The more it rains, the less you have to irrigate. The less it rains, the more you have to irrigate. In dry years, because there’s less water available naturally, people irrigate more,” says Buchanan

State records show that fewer irrigators are pumping more water than they are allowed to use annually.

The Hutchinson News reports that 114 water right holders received a first-offense warning of civil penalties so far this year for over-pumping in 2013. Another 70 irrigators were warned a second, and, for a few, a third time for over-pumping, and issued a $1,000 fine and temporary cutbacks to their annual water use. A fourth offense results in a water right revocation.

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Yesterday afternoon Wichita’s Public Works & Utilities Department gave a presentation on the future of water supply in the area. City Council members were in attendance and ideas concerning both conservation, as well as new sources of water, were discussed.

Wichita’s Public Works Director Alan King presented a power point demonstration about what could be done to sure up the city’s water supply until the year 2060. King’s model included five plans that he said take into consideration both effectiveness and the city’s budget.

Wichita officials will review the city’s water options for new supplies and conservation.

A workshop on Tuesday at City Hall will include presentations from utility employees on strategies for ensuring a stable water supply through 2060.

Some of those include revamped programs to reduce water usage and adding new sources of water.

The city says some of the conservation options include:

The Hays City Commission has taken steps to increase water conservation for residents and businesses.

Hays commissioners unanimously approved resolutions last week to make plumbing more efficient in future construction and remodels.

The resolutions also update the municipal water conservation plan, and drought response plan, and revise irrigation regulations.

Commercial properties building new irrigation systems have to xeriscape 30 percent of their land; it's landscaping that uses vegetation that requires little water.

The Kansas Geological Survey says groundwater levels in southwest Kansas declined at a slower pace in 2013 than in recent years.

The KGS also says increases in wells around south-central Kansas are attributed to above-average rainfall that reduced irrigation during the spring growing season.

Preliminary information shows that water tables in southwest Kansas dropped over 2 feet last year. During each of the three previous years, water levels fell by more than 3 feet.

KMUW's Carla Eckels recently sat down with Ben Nelson of the city’s public works and utilities department to find out more about the state of water in Wichita.

Study: High Plains Aquifer Mostly Gone in 50 Years

Aug 27, 2013

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.