Archive for Friday, May 24, 2013

Wichita might fine residents over use of water

May 24, 2013


Wichita officials will consider imposing fines of $1,000 per month on residents and businesses that use too much water as part of a short-term plan to respond to dwindling water supplies.

The water conservation plan was unveiled Wednesday by city officials seeking to remedy issues with the drought-plagued Cheney Reservoir, which supplies 64 percent of Wichita’s water. The reservoir is forecast to dry up in mid-2015, The Wichita Eagle reported.

The plan does not include any rate increases, city officials said. It will go before the city council on June 4.

Alan King, Wichita’s public works director, said the idea is to eliminate 50 percent of the city’s summertime outdoor irrigation, which is almost 25 percent of the city’s yearly water usage.

The $1,000 fine would be imposed on any resident or business that uses 310 percent of their average winter water usage in a month. Ben Nelson, a public works official, told the committee that number is “about what it would take to keep a lawn alive.”

The users would get a month’s grace period through a letter warning them that they are facing the fine. A second month of high water use would result in a $1,000 fine.

Several committee members questioned the fairness of the fine and proposed graduated penalties for overusing water. They also pushed for the fines to be temporary, removing them once the reservoir’s levels rise.

But City Manager Robert Layton said a current charge of $8.56 per thousand gallons for some overuse has not encouraged water conservation.

The conservation plan also focuses on drawing more water from the Equus Beds Aquifer and less from Cheney Reservoir. King, however, said the aquifer is overused and doesn’t have enough water because of the drought.

“Right now, this is like starting a savings account when you’re unemployed,” he said.


Paul R Getto 4 years, 9 months ago

The wave of the future? We will know it's serious when they outlaw watering golf courses and filling home swimming pools. Much of the country has a water crisis coming in the next few years.

kernal 4 years, 9 months ago

I'd include the rest of the planet in that. Our wars now are for oil and minerals, the future will be for potable water.

Hooligan_016 4 years, 9 months ago

This should have been in place last year.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

The thing of it is that there is only so much water regardless of how much money you have. Even if people do pay that $1,000 fine, where is Wichita going to get the water from when it is gone?

Hooligan_016 4 years, 9 months ago

Precisely, thank you. We don't have an infinite amount of water in the state. In even more extreme drought conditions, I would consider water shut offs to be a necessary measure.

Seth Amott 4 years, 9 months ago

The problem is, they already do that. The city used a tier system last year, it didn't help at all. The whole point of the plan is that the fine is so outrageous, even people with the money will try and avoid it. The "one month grace" period is for that Grandma that has her grand kids over.

I don't think you all realize how bad the water situation is down in Wichita. The Reservoir is about to dry up, the river is hardly flowing anymore, and the aquifer is drying up faster then a sponge on a hot day.

footnote2 4 years, 9 months ago

Maybe the City of Wichita will see the light that shines from Topeka and exempt businesses of whatever size from the need to conserve water. How can businesses work the fiscal miracles that justify tax breaks if they have no water to use and probably waste?

Kat Christian 4 years, 9 months ago

Maryland has instituted a "flush" tax so if you flush your toilet more times that you should you are charged extra water tax on your bill. Also, the state is planning to create a "rain" tax for those who have flat services like a parking lot or driveway and flat roofs. Depending on how much rain they get you will be charged this extra tax. They say it is to help clean up the Chesapeake bay because this runoff is polluting it. Well dang don't you'd think they would have thought of this beforehand? NOT!! Their model city will be Baltimore City before they tweak it then they'll move along the coast of the Bay before they include everyone then work their way outward from the bay before everyone in Maryland will have to pay this tax. Do you really think they will use it just to clean up the Bay? Someone will get rich off of this for sure. Once a city imposes as tax their is a fat chance they will stop it. Politicians are just too greedy for that and they always find a way that they need it. Good luck Wichita.

purplesage 4 years, 9 months ago

Don't you people know anything? Money makes everything right. Just ask any governmental agency, court, hospital, doctor's office. Or, the lack of money makes everything wrong. Someone with a hung up toilet tank flapper could get into this. And I thought it was bad when a plumber charged an elderly fried $70 to come out and put the $2.50 rubbler flapper in the tank.

Come to think of it - you can't get water out of money. This might call for a rethinking of the whole plan

gccs14r 4 years, 9 months ago

Dual-flush toilets should be the norm. I really like mine, and it vastly reduced water usage.

skull 4 years, 9 months ago

No way's the people of Wichita who suck. Let them stay.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

Flush limit? Seriously? Don't people flush every time they use the toilet? I was taught to. As for the hung up flapper? Call the fire department! Great Gatsby joke. But, I am an elderly woman and if I hear the water running in the toilet tank I simply take the lid off, place the flapper where it is supposed to go and, problem fixed. Also you can't flush if the tank isn't filled with water, so wouldn't most people take the lid off and check?

I have read all of the Dune books, several times, and when I do I think of how water fat I am with all the water I use. Now I am really aware of water usage. I believe that we are going to have to do without every place of business having landscaping. It is time to start thinking about what we should do, not what we want to do. There are those who will consider this to be fear mongering and tell me to buy a tin foil hat, but it is reality, our resources are dwindling.

It is tougher to do research in the Arctic because the ice is melting and the camps are falling though the cracks. This is most definitely a sign!

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

"Russia's environment ministry has ordered the urgent evacuation of 16 scientists from a research station on an Arctic ice floe near Canada because the ice around it is disintegrating at an alarming rate, giving the station little chance of survival.

The emergency has sparked a wider debate among Russian Arctic researchers over how to continue their work amid rapidly changing climate conditions, and in an atmosphere in which the race for newly uncovered Arctic resources has become one of the most politically charged issues on the international agenda.

"It's getting harder and harder to find a proper block of ice to sustain one of these stations," says Viktor Boyarsky, a former polar explorer and current director of the Russian State Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic in St. Petersburg."


ksgardener 4 years, 9 months ago

So with the ice melting, where is all the darn water going? Hydrogen? Oxygen? Seems more like a problem of infrastructure and large populations living where there isn't enough water to flush once and have enough.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

Sea ice is frozen ocean water, so it just melts back into the ocean. The Arctic is a huge mass of frozen ice that is gradually becoming smaller. This will matter because the heavier salt water drops down and helps to create the oceans currents by moving under the warmer, lighter water at the equator The light color of the ice also reflects heat back into space. When the Arctic is gone, then that will no longer be true and global warming will intensify.

Curveball 4 years, 9 months ago

I think most of Lawrence water comes from rivers to the west and north. The Smokey Hill, Saline,Solomon and Republican all end up in the Kansas River. Hays and Russell are on the verge of a water war over water from Cedar Bluff. They can't tap the high plains aquifer because they are located in a blank spot over it. It was always that way, not from overuse. If the drought continues, Lawrence will certainly be affected. I can remember reading about water shortages over 25 years ago. The water shortage is world wide. Read up on Lake Meade and see what it will do the the far west of the country.

avarom 4 years, 9 months ago

As long as there is rain...there will always be water.....why not just build a big a dam or reservior.......its cheaper for everyone. Your Electric is next hold on to your shocks...I mean shorts....Its Global Electricity Next...........Wonder how they are going about water that new golf course.......yep folks....Welcome to Kansas!!

richh 4 years, 9 months ago

Ahh, I remembered that I lived in Wichita... my friend asked me to pick him up and bring him to work as car pool while his wife use his car for a week vacation. I picked him up at front of his house then we left to work. Someone called him that city fined the ticket on front door of his house that water keep running on the lawn for much longer hours in the morning. No, I looked at grass, there was no water that time when we left. Someone did purpose and turned the water on to make city crews looked at them and fined $500 for waste water use. My friend went to the court and judge dropped that fine as next neighbors told them that he didn't use the water on the lawn during the morning.

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