WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita officials studying long-term residential water supply options are moving forward with two possibilities, including expanding the city’s aquifer recharge project.
Wichita, which gets its water from Cheney Reservoir and wells in the Equus Beds aquifer, needs an additional source to provide water during severe drought, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/1mXhJFe ).
During a City Council workshop Tuesday, City Manager Robert Layton tentatively advanced proposals to buy treated water from El Dorado Reservoir and expand the aquifer recharge and storage recovery project, under which river water would be stored in the aquifer for later use. The council can choose one of the options, combine them or send the issue back to city staff members for more study.
Public works director Alan King said if the existing aquifer project is expanded, 30 new wells would be drilled to match water supply with the treatment plant’s capability. That plan is projected to protect the city through 2024. King said the public must conserve water to extend the city’s drought protection through 2060.
The project costs $198 million, plus $1.6 million in annual operating costs, and temporarily boosts water rates 2 percent.
Council member Jeff Longwell, who opposes the aquifer recharge project, said it was originally sold to the city as 50-year water supply.
“It’s disappointing to hear that it is producing about half of what it was previously calculated to produce,” he said.
The nearby city of El Dorado has also offered to deliver treated water.
Wichita would pay El Dorado $234 million for startup capital costs to cover a treatment plant and the pipeline, and would receive the water for free for a specified time. If the city didn’t pay the startup costs, it would pay $5 per 1,000 gallons. The El Dorado plan would require minimal public water conservation.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com