At the same time we’re asking residents to voluntarily conserve water, City staff are working on a number of initiatives to save water and better manage our limited water supplies.
Following the City Council Workshop on February 26, 2013, pertaining to the ongoing drought conditions, City staff from the Public Works and Utilities, Park and Recreation, and Fire departments began evaluating ideas to reduce water usage in City operations. On June 11, 2013, the City Council directed City staff to implement a number of those ideas, and continue working on others. Currently, the City has taken the following steps to conserve water, which are projected to save over 42 million gallons and $154,000 annually:
City staff continue to evaluate a number of other water saving ideas, including:
Want to know more? Check out the full version of the Internal Water Conservation Plan.
Wichita’s Water Supplies
The City of Wichita’s Water Utility draws water from two sources: Cheney Reservoir and the Equus Beds aquifer. Keeping these two sources healthy and available for future generations takes continuous work. The City invested about $250 million in the Aquifer Recovery and Storage (ASR) project, which takes extra water from the Arkansas River during high flows, treats it to drinking water quality, and stores it in the underground Equus Beds aquifer. Unfortunately, this “water savings account” was opened for business at the start of the current drought. ASR is still a good project and an important component of ensuring Wichita’s future water supply, but hasn’t had much of an impact on helping us get through the current drought.
Protecting Cheney Reservoir
Past efforts to ensure the long-term viability of Cheney Reservoir included building a series of ponds in the Cheney watershed to reduce the amount of silt flowing into the lake. This has minimized sedimentation to the point where only 5% of Cheney Reservoirs total storage capacity has been lost, a percentage far lower than what many reservoirs in Kansas have experienced. The City has also continued to tweak the percentage of overall demand that is being pulled from Cheney Reservoir and the Equus Beds aquifer, including recently in response to the current drought. The City is now pulling 40% of our overall water from Cheney while pulling the remaining 60% from the Equus Beds aquifer.
One of the best ways to prolong the life of our two water sources is through conservation, a message the City has been educating water customers on since the early 1990’s. A voluntary conservation program has been offered for 22 years and has recently expanded to include a rebate program in 2013.
Public Works & Utilities455 N Main, 8th FloorWichita, KS 67202
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