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Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2007

Leaders discuss aging reservoirs

Concerns for future of state’s water supply focus of first summit

October 18, 2007

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Lawmakers discuss reservoir problem

Rain was pouring outside the Dole Institute of Politics today, but state leaders inside were planning for drier weather. Enlarge video

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius delivers opening remarks about the state's reservoirs to state leaders gathered at the Dole Institute of Politics at Kansas University on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007.  Measures to update the state's reservoirs is gaining momentum out of concern  for drought and outdated infrastructure.

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius delivers opening remarks about the state's reservoirs to state leaders gathered at the Dole Institute of Politics at Kansas University on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007. Measures to update the state's reservoirs is gaining momentum out of concern for drought and outdated infrastructure.

As rained poured outside the Dole Institute of Politics on Wednesday, state officials inside planned for drier weather.

At the state's first Kansas Reservoir Summit, leaders grappled with what to do as the state's 24 federal reservoirs grow older.

Two-thirds of Kansans depend on reservoirs for their water supply. And the manmade bodies of water provide flood control and recreation.

The reservoirs were built to last 50 to 100 years. Half of them have reached the 40- to 60-year mark.

As reservoirs age, sediment builds up, taking away room to store water or provide flood control. More silt at the bottom of these lakes also leads to more algae, which can taint the water with bad smells and a funny taste.

On Wednesday, some voiced concern about what would happen if severe droughts gripped the state.

"With conditions like that, and as demand for reservoir water increases, 20 to 25 years from now, there are some areas in our state where we really have to make some choices and changes," said Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office.

Wednesday's topic drew federal agencies, state lawmakers and even an appearance from Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who gave the summit's opening remarks.

"Hopefully, a favorable rainfall will continue to bless us, but we can't rely on the fact that we are fortunate enough to have adequate rainfall. So we have to continue the efforts to improve the planning process for not only the best-case scenario but worst-case scenario," Sebelius said.

Building more reservoirs isn't likely, officials said, because most of the good spots for dams are taken and environmental regulations have become too burdensome.

Other alternatives would be to raise the level of water in reservoirs or to dredge them. The options all cost millions of dollars and take years of work.

Another solution would be to do more to prevent water run-off and erosion upstream, which would limit the amount of sediment that gets dropped at the bottom of reservoirs.

But officials said Wednesday that decades of soil conservation efforts weren't producing the results they had hoped they would.

Perhaps the biggest question mark left at Wednesday's summit was who would pay for the cost to maintain - and sustain - Kansas' reservoirs.

State Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, who initiated the summit, said he plans to address reservoir issues next legislative session. Parties are out there now - such as recreation users and municipalities - that are benefiting from the reservoirs but not paying as much as they should, he said.

The state and communities should be setting aside money now to fix these problems, said former Gov. Mike Hayden, who now is secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

"We've been passing the buck to future generations to pay for this water for a long, long time, and the bill keeps accumulating," he said.

Comments

max1 6 years, 6 months ago

"Since these are federally owned, then the feds should pony up the necessary funds for dredging." -hipper_than_hip

Sept 3, 2006 http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/sep... The Kansas Water Office estimated that dredging Clinton would cost $1.6 million each year just to keep up with the sediment coming in. There is a debate about whether the dredging - if it comes - should be paid for by local taxpayers who use the water or by the state, Lewis said. There also is an issue of what to do with the dredged material once it is removed from the lake. If the dredged silt is tagged as toxic waste, it will be an additional cost to safely dispose of it.

http://ks.water.usgs.gov/Kansas/pubs/reports/wrir.02-4048.html The total estimated volume of bottom sediment in the original conservation-pool area of the [Tuttle Creek] lake was 6,170 million ft or about 142,000 acre-ft. The 142,000 acre-ft of sediment occupies about 33 percent of the lake's original water-storage capacity

http://ks.water.usgs.gov/Kansas/pubs/press/sedimentsources.kj.pr.htm A previous USGS sediment study on Perry Lake indicated that about 23 percent of the lake's original water-storage capacity was lost because of sedimentation as of 2001:channel bank erosion is the main sediment source for Perry Lake.

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Godot 6 years, 6 months ago

Kansas will not be able to fix the reservoirs because it has to fix university buildings. We must keep our priorities in place.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 6 years, 6 months ago

toefungus hit the nail........square. Kansas will continue to decline in population as well as in private investment in jobs

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toefungus 6 years, 6 months ago

We won't need the reservoirs. The lack of economic opportunity will result in continue decline in our population.

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Kontum1972 6 years, 6 months ago

all federal money is going to the fiasco in iraq...so forget it...plus the fed is having trouble coming up with the bucks..for just about anything...

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hipper_than_hip 6 years, 6 months ago

Since these are federally owned, then the feds should pony up the necessary funds for dredging. Has anyone asked the feds what their plan is for these lakes?

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To Sides 6 years, 6 months ago

In 1981 when the Chamber of Commerce tried to ramrod an Industrial Park out by the airport , County Commissioner Bob Neis, when voting against the park, after inquiring with the Corp of Engineers, stated concern for levee failure and how Tuttle Creek and Perry would be ineffective for flood control in the future. He was a good County Commissoner who could see the future and not be locked into only the present.

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Jeteras 6 years, 6 months ago

Yea, so lets pass laws that keep people from coming to the lake,, that will fix it?!

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jumpin_catfish 6 years, 6 months ago

I do think Rep. Sloan is showing good leadership in this matter, water is about as basic as it gets so everyone needs to talk to their reps. But sadly, I think future generations will get this problem. Just watch and see, thing won't happen until there is a crisis.

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