water conservation

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.

City Officials: The Drought Is Over

Aug 9, 2013

City of Wichita officials announced Friday the drought that threatened the area’s water supply the two past summers and heightened conservation efforts is officially over.

In a release Friday, the city reports Cheney Lake, the city’s primary water source, reached full capacity in the early hours of Thursday from 73.6 percent on July 29. Earlier this year, the lake was as low as 58 percent capacity, causing city officials to encourage conservation efforts through a media campaign, a rebate program and other measures aimed at extending the area’s water supply.

Faulty Meters Cited In Junction City Water Loss

Jul 24, 2013

Authorities in Junction City are cracking down on illegal water consumption but say old and faulty meters are the biggest reason for the apparent overuse of water.

The city of Wichita unveiled Thursday a $1 million rebate program to continue to encourage residents to conserve water. The program starts Monday and runs through December 31.

r. Vore / flickr Creative Commons

Updated a 11:03 a.m.

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.

You May Be Fined $1,000 For Using Too Much Water

May 23, 2013

Wichita residents and businesses might be required to pay a $1,000 fine a month if they use too much water.

The city staff made that recommendation as part of a water conservation proposal unveiled Wednesday.

The fine would be imposed on those who use 310 percent more than their average winter water usage.

Public Works official Ben Nelson says surveys and meetings found that water rates and indoor and business water use were residents' top priorities, while outdoor use was the lowest priority.

Wichita Fountains Could Dry Up This Summer

May 6, 2013

A drought-induced water shortage could force Wichita officials to idle the city's fountain systems this summer.

City Manager Robert Layton says water use across all city operations is under review.

City officials say Cheney Reservoir could dry up by mid-2015 if the drought continues, and the city would no longer have enough water to meet demand if that happens.

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