City anticipates additional water conservation measures
The City of Independence is reviewing planned measures to address the severe drought conditions affecting the region.
Last month, the State of Kansas issued a "Water Watch" (or Stage 1) declaration for Elk City Reservoir and the City followed suit to implement its Water Conservation Plan practices and encourage citizens to voluntarily conserve water resources.
As the drought in our area persists, City Engineer John Garris explained a next-level declaration – a “Water Warning” – will be issued per our state-approved plan if and when the reservoir’s water level decreases to five feet below normal, which is anticipated to occur within the next few days.
“While some rainfall is in our immediate forecast and cooler temperatures will slow water evaporation, it is very possible that we will reach the Water Warning stage of the plan within a week or less, at which time new water conservation measures must be implemented,” he said.
The goal of this stage of the plan is to achieve an overall 10 percent reduction in water usage, Garris said. Toward that end, the City will adopt additional conservation practices, including new guidelines for resident water usage.
In response to this stage, the City will take the following actions:
1. Provide weekly news releases to local media describing present conditions and any changes to the water supply.
2. Provide weekly summaries of temperature, precipitation, water levels and storage.
3. Provide water conservation articles and information to local news media outlets.
4. Include water-saving tips in billing statements to utility customers.
5. Shut down fountains, discontinue washing of City vehicles and halt watering of City grounds or properties.
Residents and all customers using City water will be required to adhere to the following measures:
1. Residents with odd-numbered addresses will water only on odd-numbered days; even-numbered addresses will water only on even-numbered days.
2. Outdoor water use, including lawn watering and car washing, shall occur only before 10 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
3. Outdoor watering is restricted to hand-held hoses or buckets only.
4. Golf course watering will be limited to tees and greens, following the above restrictions.
5. Refilling swimming pools is limited to one day a week, after sunset.
6. Excess water charges for consumption above winter levels will be considered.
7. Wasting of water will be prohibited, via ordinance with potential penalties enforced.
In the event the Water Warning is necessary, the Independence City Commission will be asked to approve an updated City ordinance outlining the conservation guidelines and setting parameters for fines and penalties, Garris noted.
“Thanks to our water marketing contracts in place with the State of Kansas that provide us a designated supply of reservoir water, we have not had to implement more stringent conservation measures to date during this lingering drought,” he explained. “However, now is the time for all of us to pitch in to conserve and ensure we are being good stewards of our resources. Our community’s cooperation is very much appreciated.”