Archive for Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kansans would have to pay new fee on water use, if proposed legislation passes

January 20, 2010


— Most Kansans would have to pay a new fee on water use under legislation heard Wednesday.

The fee of 3 cents per 1,000 gallons of water would be used to help stop sedimentation of lakes and reservoirs, which officials say leads to foul-tasting water and could result in dangerous water shortages.

“Sedimentation in our reservoirs is a serious and growing issue,” said Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office. “Our ability to meet the state’s growing demand will be compromised if we do not begin to take action soon.”

Nearly 60 percent of Kansans rely on surface water supplies for drinking water. But sediment washed into these reservoirs is reducing the amount of water available for drinking, irrigation, industry and recreation. Most Kansas reservoirs are an average of 40 years old.

“Many Kansas reservoirs are silting in faster than originally anticipated; several are silting in two to three times faster than anticipated,” said Ed Martinko, state biologist and director of the Kansas Biological Survey.

Six of the 20 federal reservoirs in Kansas that are used for drinking water are more than 20 percent silted in; four are 40 percent or more, Martinko said. Since its construction in 1969, Perry Lake has lost 18 percent of its capacity.

In addition to reducing water storage capacity, the sedimentation creates water quality problems by promoting algae blooms that kill fish, which affects taste and odor.

Lawrence has battled taste and odor issues, and the city of Wichita has spent more than $10 million over the past decade to deal with foul-tasting and smelling water, Martinko said.

The House Vision 2020 Committee, chaired by state Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, is considering House Bill 2428, which would assess a “sustainability” fee of 3 cents per 1,000 gallons of water. It would not be charged to groundwater systems. For a household using 5,000 gallons per month, that would add 15 cents to the bill. Sloan said the committee could would work on the bill next week and possibly recommend its approval to the full House.

The fee would generate about $2 million annually and would go into a fund to measure, test and monitor water supply lakes.

The most inexpensive way to extend the life of reservoirs may be to stabilize stream banks, officials said.

“As funding becomes available, the strategy to implement stream bank protection project for an entire watershed or significant portions of a watershed may prove to be priceless, said Greg Foley, executive director of the State Conservation Commission.

In addition, Streeter said federal help will be needed to assist the state in providing enough water for Kansas.


sad_lawrencian 8 years ago

They can't pay for this using existing fees and taxes? What about federal stimulus money?

Sunny Parker 8 years ago

They can take care of themselves....they don't because they don't have to!

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Instead of watering yards so much how about if residents install a landscape that meets with our real water supply aka rain?

Reducing demand = reduction in cost of water

Fugu 8 years ago

barrypenders: 'I drilled a hole in the ground to get my water. Are the PAD's going to tax that too?'

Did you even read the article? 'Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, is considering House Bill 2428, which would assess a “sustainability” fee of 3 cents per 1,000 gallons of water. It would not be charged to groundwater systems.'

This is a bill to prolong the life of reservoirs, not groundwater.

KawHawk 8 years ago

Consumer1 - No, it is strictly for DRINKING WATER SUPPLY reservoirs only. Not even state fishing lakes are covered under this. Just drinking water supply lakes.

barrypenders - no, it is just for surface water supplies, specifically drinking water reservoirs.

Centerville 8 years ago

This is totally bogus and a shake down. If the Water Office hasn't already 'measur[ed], test[ed] and monitor[ed] water supply lakes', how does Streeter know that 'sedimentation in our reservoirs is a serious and growing issue.'
If it has already 'measur[ed], test[ed] and monitor[ed] water supply lakes', why does it need another $2 million in taxes?

LogicMan 8 years ago

"would be used to help stop sedimentation"

There's already many soil management and forestation programs in place, so "no" IMHO.

If instead a fee to pay specifically for dredging, then "yes" and get to work on Clinton, etc. ASAP.

And offer the dried removed soil to all Kansans for free for use on lawns, range land, in parks, on sod farms, etc. Any included chemicals or heavy metals in the reclaimed soil shouldn't be significant problems for those applications.

Jeteras 8 years ago

I live within 5 footsteps of the most silted in part of Perry reservoir and I can tell you this IS a big problem and something that your eye can measure! I would be willing to pay this tax AS LONG AS the money is used to dredge parts of the lake that are in dire need and not to line the pocket of some politician. the north end of Perry Lake is damn near 6 foot deep across a 1/4-1/2 mile water body. Lets get the dredging goin people these are beautiful water bodies used for all kinds of purposes

MyName 8 years ago

What I want is for idiots to stop complaining about a proposed ~$1.80 per YEAR in tax to fix something that affects 60% of Kansans. Granted this might be a burden for water intensive industries, but I'd bet it's not worth contemplating for most of them.

Jeteras 8 years ago

hey buddy it doesnt effect my front landscape,, you drink Lawrence water?? where do you think 80% of the "UNPOLLUTED" water that washes your A__ everyday comes from? yea, the water that flows out of Perry
oh and lets see what happens to Lawrence the next time we have a 1951 or 1993 flood without these reservoir Think about it!,,, it affects EVERYONE.

LogicMan 8 years ago

"How about taxing the people who live on these lakes for the dredging?"

Because there are much bigger public-good purposes for these lakes: flood control, wildlife habitat, recreation, and last but not least drinking/irrigating water.

KawHawk 8 years ago

LogicMan: "And offer the dried removed soil to all Kansans for free for use on lawns, range land, in parks, on sod farms, etc. "

As I understand it, the silt is pretty fine, like clay. Might make good flower pots or bricks, but it's not really "soil" in the agricultural sense. Think about wet pottery clay - how well would that grow things ? It's choke the roots. Plus, think of the expense of trucking wet clay around!

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