City revises water conservation plan

WICHITA, Kansas — Developments over the weekend at Cheney Reservoir mean no more fines proposed against heavy water users in Wichita.

Recent rainfall has made the city rethink their plan.

“It’s important to remember that the drought isn’t over. It has eased quite a bit,” explains Ben Nelson with the city’s Public Works and Utilities.

Since last Thursday’s storm, the level of Cheney Lake has risen from 64 percent full to 72 percent.

The recent rainfall left us with an additional 13,000 acre feet of water.

“I think everybody’s thrilled, I mean, we like them to be higher than they are right now but this is very positive progress on the drought,” says Nelson.

Because of the increase the city is tabling it’s former proposal of thousand dollar fines and rate hikes for people who use too much water.

But other options are still out there.

Nelson explains, “One is a rebate program to provide incentives for people who want to voluntarily reduce water thru new low-flow fixtures and high-efficiency appliances as well as weather sensors and smart irrigation sensors and rain barrels.”

Another is to switch the allocation of the city’s water, instead pulling the majority from the aquifer and only 40 percent from Cheney Lake.

“We’re not out of the drought yet and we know we have the hottest, driest months coming up so we want to make sure that if people can conserve, that they do because we’re not out of the woods yet but we’ve had good developments this weekend,” reminds Nelson.

City leaders will discuss the remaining water conservation proposals at tomorrow’s city council meeting.

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