skip to nav skip to content
As the Wichita area goes into the third year of severe drought conditions, the city council is looking at water conservation and stepped up efforts to increase water supplies in order to meet future needs.
Public Works Director Alan King told the council in a workshop meeting Tuesday that Cheney Reservoir would be unable to meet water demands in Aug. 2015 if the drought continues.
Deputy Public Works Director Joe Pajor told the council that the recent snowfall will not come close to easing the drought. He said it would take 6 to 10 inches of rainfall to refill Cheney Reservoir to a satisfactory level.
King and his staff presented four options for water conservation, including increases in water rates for heavy users who are meeting irrigation needs. The council also heard four options for increasing water supplies.
The council agreed to look for voluntary water conservation measures this spring and summer, asking customers to limit their outdoor water uses. They also want to move ahead with plans to increase the city's usage of the Equus Beds aquifer, up to the limit of the city's water rights. Those steps would extend the life of Cheney Reservoir to 2017, giving the city more time to look at other options.
The city plans more discussions with the city of El Dorado about the use of water from El Dorado Lake. That would involve the building of a pipeline from Wichita to the lake. That is part of a long range master plan that is being developed for the city's future water needs.
King said staff will have more information for the council throughout the spring and summer on the impact of the drought and the options for meeting the city's future water needs.
(in photo at left, public works director Alan King speaks to the city council during the workshop meeting at city hall)