Letter to the editor
Concerns about water
To the editor:
Recently, I spoke with an "informed" city employee and learned that our city water supply had been at an extremely low level. I was told during the first part of January (typically, a low-usage month) the water level was low enough the pumps could have pulled up mud.
The city's two wells have been fed by the Tonganoxie Sands Aquifer for their entirety. The city's growth is placing a strain on these wells, but a major cause of the "drain" is wells north of ours drilled into the same aquifer. These belong to Rural Water District No. 9. They have four wells and are in the process of drilling a fifth to serve residents in the northern rural area of Tonganoxie.
There is a rural water district serving residents in western rural area No. 6. At one time the city sold all the water No. 6 used, but RWD No. 9 proposed forming a wholesale water district to enable water to be purchased from Bonner Springs. Each district was to use at least a certain number of gallons of water per period. District No. 9 has never drawn the amount of Bonner water it signed for. District No. 6 draws completely from Bonner, and the city uses it as necessary.
By not using the wholesale district water (Bonner water), No. 9 has to be drawing the water supply from the four wells they drilled into the Tonganoxie Sands Aquifer and now drilling the fifth. This is taking a large amount of water that would filter into our wells.
I told Mr. Eppley of my concern but he feels that the draw of the expected 35 gallons per minute is negligible. I don't think so. A draw of 35 gallons per minute multiplied by 1,440 minutes per day multiplied by the 30.5 average days per month results in 1,537,200 gallons per month. These amounts do not include whatever the other four wells are using from the aquifer. This fifth well would supply at least 50,000 per day to someone.
I spoke with a member of the Kansas Department of Health Environment recently. He says the demands placed on the aquifers across the state of Kansas must be regulated. The RWD is placing the most strain and should be under stricter controls.
Our city's solutions to the water problem is to raise rates and drill test wells and try to bring water to Tonganoxie at the approximate cost of $5 million.
Maybe we should explore the Tonganoxie Sands Aquifer. How many years down the road and how many miles of pipe until we know what the southern possibility can offer?