Topeka's water department is monitoring the Kansas River for E. coli after a weekend sewage spill.

Kansas water officials want to discover how feasible it would be to build a 360-mile aqueduct. The aqueduct would tap the Missouri River to support agriculture in western parts of the state.

Tracy Streeter with the Kansas Water Office told legislators Tuesday the study would begin next year and take about 18 months to complete.

Officials want to divert as much as 4 million acre-feet of water and sending it west, to help support irrigated farming of corn and other crops.

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.

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.

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.

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.