County to consider water district annexation, plan for transitioning service

The request before the Douglas County Commission from Douglas County Water District No. 5 to annex a small area south of the Wakarusa River has prompted Lawrence City Manager Tom Markus to suggest it is time to start planning how the area eventually will transition to city water service.

The request the Douglas County Commission will consider Wednesday following a 4 p.m. public hearing is for the annexation of about 77 acres in Wakarusa Township in the 1400 block of North 1100 Road about 2 miles south of Lawrence. More than 50 percent of property owners in the area, which is currently unserved by any water utility, have petitioned to be annexed by Water District No. 5.

The 77 acres are within a three-mile fringe growth area of Lawrence, which has a water utility. That required that the city be notified of the annexation.

In response, Markus sent a letter to commissioners stating that the city doesn’t oppose the annexation but does want to establish with Water District No. 5 an agreement for the future orderly transition to city water service as Lawrence grows into the area. The city has such an arrangement with Douglas County Water District No.1.

“Lawrence does not want to see a repeat of the Eudora and Douglas County Water District No. 4 scenario that cost the rate payers of both systems unnecessary fees,” Markus wrote.

The city of Eudora and Water District No. 4 have engaged in more than a decade of litigation in a conflict involving the right to serve the southern part of that city and adjoining growth area.

The Douglas County Commission meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. To view the commission’s entire agenda, visit


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