Archive for Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Concerns growing at City Hall over Clinton Lake’s water levels

March 26, 2014


Concerns at Lawrence City Hall are rising as water levels at Clinton Lake continue to fall to levels not seen since 1981 when the lake was first filled.

City commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday agreed to ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the amount of water it plans to release from Clinton during the spring and summer periods. Water levels at Clinton Lake, which is just west of the city, are about 4.5 feet below normal levels.

Corps officials said they’ll consider the request.

“It is the first such request we’ve had from Clinton in at least 10 years,” said Chris Purzer, who is the chief of water management for the Corps’ Kansas City district. “But we understand that the lake is at a historically low level.”

The Kansas Water Office already has sent a letter requesting the Corps to release water at a rate no greater than 7 cubic feet per second during the low water times. That would be down from the standard 21 cubic feet per second the Corps usually releases during the spring and summer seasons.

About 60 percent of all the treated water produced by the city comes from Clinton Lake. City officials aren’t yet concerned about the city’s ability to treat water out of Clinton. City engineers say the city has the ability to draw water from the lake even if the lake is about 23 feet below its normal level.

But water watchers are becoming concerned because the spring season is when the lake normally rises, and thus far it hasn’t been gaining much ground.

“The rains that we have had really just kind of missed us,” said Megan Hiebert, owner of Clinton Lake Marina. “We just need it to rain a little south and west of here.”

Hiebert said the low water levels haven’t yet started to cause major problems for boaters, but that will change if the lake doesn’t begin to refill before temperatures rise. She said currently her marina does have three to four boat slips that aren’t usable because of low water conditions.

Purzer said he did not have a timeline for when the Corps will make a decision about whether to reduce its normal release rates at Clinton. He said officials in the Corps’ division office in Omaha will review any recommendations. He said officials will have to weigh the benefits of storing more water at the lake against several possible concerns, including the impact less water will have on fish and wildlife along the Wakarusa River, which is fed by Clinton Lake.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence should practice water conservation instead of pretending this is not happening. It is up to City Hall to declare such a policy.

Why wait. This problem is not going away. Perhaps it time to reduce the size of lawns dramatically and covert the areas to very very low maintenance landscapes and veggie gardens both of which require mulching.

I'm sure the landscape industry would love the conversion program. Instead of more mowing the landscape maintenance industry could hire out weed pullers and pruners to manage the new concept.

Water supply may curtail the 24/7 construction of new residential at which point that industry converts to restoration of older neighborhoods.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 10 months ago

Green Patios, Walkways, and Driveways Choices in Permeable Pavers

Groundwater is a source of drinking water for many people worldwide. It also nourishes deep-rooted plants and trees. Replenished by rain and melting snow, groundwater has become an endangered resource, partly because of the impermeable materials used in new developments in and around cities and towns. Roofs, roadways and runways, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, patios, and paved tennis courts prevent surface water from seeping into the ground.

You can do your part in addressing these problems by installing permeable materials when building patios, walkways, parking spaces, and driveways. There are many attractive options that will permit water to drain into the ground. Some even help reduce heat accumulation around buildings.

What Are Your Options?

For patios or walkways, consider installing permeable concrete pavers. The pavers themselves are solid, but if they’re spaced correctly, water drains between them. Pavers are placed over a bed of sand or gravel, which filters the water before it percolates into the soil. Permeable pavers come in several attractive styles and are made from concrete or cut stone.

When replacing or creating a new driveway or parking area, consider porous pavers or open-cell concrete blocks. These blocks are designed to support vehicles, but are sufficiently open to allow water to drain through them easily. The spaces are filled with gravel or sand. You can even grow grass in the open spaces, reducing heat buildup.

Another product that can be used for driveways is pervious concrete. As its name implies, this is a highly porous concrete. It is made from aggregate (small stones) and cement, which binds the aggregate together. However, unlike conventional concrete, pervious concrete contains very little, if any, sand. This results in a substantial void content.Pervious concrete is recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency and geotechnical engineers across the country to help manage stormwater run-off.

What Will It Cost? Porous and permeable paving products cost more than standard paving materials, such as asphalt and concrete, but they can add value to your project, when compared to asphalt or conventional concrete. Permeable paving is a green feature—and pavers can boost curb appeal.

Dan Chiras, Ph.D., author of this article, is Director of The Evergreen Institute and President of the consulting firm, Sustainable Systems Design, Inc. Dan is the author of Green Home Improvement, from which this article is excerpted, and 23 other books on green building, residential renewable energy, and sustainability.

Jeanne Swearingen 3 years, 10 months ago

Great ideas, Richard, thank you. I wish that what you suggest would happen but I don't have any faith that it will.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence is building more than Clinton Lake can deliver…. 24/7 forever.

If my memory serves me well it says that our area has closed out in a drought several consecutive years which means a lot of catch up if ever the following year etc etc etc.

Has substantial catch up plus the years normal rainfall ever materialized? I would doubt that.

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