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.
A Water Usage and Conservation meeting was held Tuesday at Wichita’s Central Library, organized by the League of Women Voters. A three-member panel addressed questions about the future of Wichita's water supply including concerns about Cheney Reservoir.
Cheney provides 60 percent of the city's water supply and if the drought continues is projected to run dry by August 2015.
“We are going into a three year drought," says Ben Nelson, Strategic Services Manager for Wichita’s Public Works & Utilities Department.
The Wichita City Council approved funding Tuesday for two of the most heavily used municipal pools in Wichita. The pools must meet new ADA requirements.
College Hill pool on the east side of Wichita and Harvest on the west side will split $80,000 from the Capital Improvement Program to meet the new federal ADA standards. That's half of the funding, with the other 50 percent coming from the Department of Public Works and Utilities.
Senate President Wagle calls for further cuts to state budget; Gov. Brownback praises Wichita's water plan; Education is a hot topic at legislative forum; KS Cosmosphere build viewing room for space restoration work.
Kan. Senate Could Cut Gov's Budget
Leaders in the Kansas Senate say they'll pursue the budget cuts recommended by Gov. Sam Brownback. A Senate committee recently endorsed a plan that would cut income tax rates.
After the first of the year, the Kansas Geological Survey will sample wells in the western part of the state to check groundwater levels. In past years, water levels in some parts of Kansas have dropped significantly.
Brownie Wilson is with the Kansas Geological Survey. He says disappearing groundwater can have a financial impact on water users in Kansas.
"Usually what you see is the well yields start to suffer, and so those large volume demands that need a lot of water really quickly, those become uneconomical," says Brownie.
The Wichita City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve water and sewer rate increases effective next year.
On January 1, Wichita's residential customers will see their monthly bills increase $1.19 to $7.74 depending on how much water they use. Commercial and industrial customers will see a rate hike of around 7 percent.
Alan King, Director of Public Works and Utilities says the water rates will insure a level of funding for proper renewal and replacement of aging water mains.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is sponsoring a two-day event this week that his office is calling the state's first conference on the future of water.The event is scheduled to begin tomorrow in Manhattan and will include a speech from Brownback. Also on the agenda are U.S. Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas and Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.