Archive for Saturday, November 10, 2012

Letter: Water move

November 10, 2012


To the editor:

The Wednesday Nov. 7 editorial complained about the Corps of Engineers releasing 9 million gallons of stored water to fill the “mill pond” so that the new power plant could generate green electricity. This activity is analogous to a gas company filling a newly constructed pipeline with gas so that when its customers turn on their appliances there is gas to burn.

The 9 million gallons will not generate any electricity, it will simply fill the pond to the level required by the new plant to produce electricity from the current or future river flows. It will, however, also raise the river level at the water plant intakes, thus ensuring adequate water for Lawrence residents to drink, water their lawns, and keep the golf courses green.


Joe Hyde 4 years, 11 months ago

Yes, it's green electricity being generated by a new hydro-electric plant built on a privately-owned river dam whose maintenance and major repairs have for years been largely paid for by public tax money. A new hydro-electric plant that transmits its power output to the Kansas City, KS Board of Public Utilities...not to the people of Lawrence.

Oh, and I'm sure this hydro-electric plant will qualify for the "small business owner" tax exemption recently passed by Republican conservatives in the Kansas legislature.

So the Corps releases into the Kansas River millions of gallons of publicly-owned water from already low federal lakes in order to prep a new power plant for years of cash cow duty that financially benefits one Lawrence family. Anyone who looks at this particular "long-standing water rights" arrangement without feeling a certain amount of resentment just isn't paying attention.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 11 months ago

You completely missed the point of the letter, which was that the dam is needed to maintain the pool that is required for the Lawrence water plant to have adequate levels for its intake. The higher level of the new dam sounds like it will make the water intake even easier, requiring less energy from water plant to get it into the water treatment plant. Seems to me that the dam has a dual use: one private, one public. Is that so bad?

James Cooley 4 years, 11 months ago

You have a valid point that the power plant benefits one Lawrence family. If early day Lawrence residents had wanted to, they could have built a dam and benefited as a community, but they apparently chose not to. The dam could of course be condemned by eminent domain and made a public utility, at fair market value. As far as the green electricity is concerned, it doesn't really matter who consumes the electricity, we all benefit from the forgone production of brown electricity and the resulting pollution. Westar could have purchased the power for Lawrence, but they apparently passed. I expressed my opinion about Brownback's tax policies in a letter back in October. Kansas water rights policy is an issue that will probably need to be revisited in the future, but intrenched interests will fight any changes to the death.

Ralph Gage 4 years, 11 months ago

I believe the actual number in the editorial was not 9 million, but 900 million, gallons.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 11 months ago

That's correct. Or, to put it in terms of the Kaw streamflow, whose annual mean flow ranges somewhere between 90 and 500 cubic meters/sec., would be the equivalent of what flows down the Kaw (on the average) in 1.8 to 10.5 hours.

James Cooley 4 years, 11 months ago

You are correct, my error. That's why you are/were an editor. The principle is the same as stated, however; the water is still impounded.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 11 months ago

Dougcounty, how dare you try to present facts that might upset somebody's well concieved conspiracy theory! shae on you!

hujiko 4 years, 11 months ago

there's water at the bottom of the ocean!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.