Archive for Wednesday, July 24, 2002

City bans outdoor watering

Violators could face fines

July 24, 2002

Tonganoxie residents will have to be even more conservative with their water.

If not, they could face a fine.

The Tonganoxie City Council approved a resolution Monday that would issue warnings to people who do any outside watering. A second violation could result in a $100 fine, with a $200 fine assessed for a third violation, but all fines are subject to appeals before the city council.

Water levels in Tonganoxie

(readings taken each morning)

Monday water level: 14 feet

Monday gallon consumption: N/A

Sunday water level: 14 feet

Sunday gallon consumption: N/A

Saturday water level: 14 feet

Saturday gallon consumption: N/A

Friday water level: 13.5 feet

Friday gallon consumption: 318,000

Thursday water level: 10 feet

Thursday gallon consumption: 381,000

Wednesday water level: 9 feet

Wednesday gallon consumption: 458,000

The resolution is in response to recent water shortage problems the city has had. An every-other-day watering system was implemented for residents, but those measures haven't helped provide enough relief.

Shane Krull, city administrator, said the city's wells were at 7.5 feet, which is well below what it needs to be. He said Tuesday that the level was up to nine feet on one well.

For now, residents will be required to cease using water for outside tasks, such as watering lawns, plants, or washing cars. When the water emergency will dry up, though, is still uncertain.

"When we get some prolonged cooler weather and rain," Krull said.

The city's water wells pump 500 gallons per minute, while additional water is contracted through Public Wholesale Water Supply, Bonner Springs, as part of Rural Water Districts No. 6 and No. 9. Doug Smith, board member for the No. 6 district, attended the council meeting and said they could supply a maximum of 150 gallons per minute.

If the situation doesn't improve for the city, the next step would be closing the swimming pool, commercial car washes and the bulk water dispenser.

"At this point, we basically see how we progress in the week," Krull said.

Tonganoxie school Superintendent Richard Erickson said the watering ban will affect the high school football field, where district workers recently spread grass seed.

"Right now, we'll probably just wait it out," he said. "We've looked at bringing water in in truck loads, but it's horribly expensive."

When weighing the $200 to $300 spent on grass seed against the thousands of dollars it would cost to haul in sufficient water, Erickson said, the choice is clear.

"We may just have to wait this out and re-seed it later," he said.

Notice by mail of the city's restrictions will be sent to all customers with water meters. Krull said roughly 1,200 letters would be sent out and probably received by Thursday.

Mike Breuer, of Suburban Water, Basehor, spoke at the council meeting before the emergency restrictions were discussed. The company's distribution area runs in the Basehor area to Interstate 70 and reaches to roughly two miles east of Tonganoxie. Suburban is interested in serving Tonganoxie with water in the future.

Engineers David Hamby and Cecil Kingsley will be present at the Aug. 12 council meeting to discuss both short-term and long-term goals for the Tonganoxie's water supply sources.

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