Wednesday, July 28, 2021
     
"An investment in Knowledge pays the best Interest."

Ben Franklin's words still ring true today. So we pick out the most appropriate articles in current events and news regarding the Water Industry both nationally and in Kansas to filter the most pertinent information for you.

E-News for May 10, 2021

05/10/2021 - Weekly KRWA E-News

Researchers and Farmers Work to Save the Ogallala Aquifer
The amount of water stored under the Great Plains in the Ogallala Aquifer rivals Lake Huron. The Ogallala helped transform western Kansas from an agricultural wasteland into America’s breadbasket. But after generations of being tapped to irrigate the High Plains, parts of it are beginning to run dry.  But after decades being tapped to irrigate farmland, almost a third of the water under Kansas has disappeared. By some estimates, the remaining water in the aquifer could be depleted as soon as 2028 and, once dry the aquifer will take more than 6,000 years to replenish naturally. A shift in culture is occurring, particularly in Northwest Kansas GMD 4, where producers have collectively agreed to reduce their annual water use in Local Enhanced Management Areas (LEMAs). Sharing how much, or how little, water they’ve used on their farms has become part of everyday conversation. “Instead of bragging about bushels per acre,” said GMD 4 Manager Shannon Kenyon, “they’re talking about how many bushels per inch of water that they got.” [source

 

KWO Plans Fall Water Conference
The Kansas Water Office last week announced it is preparing to hold the 10th Annual Governor's Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas, on Nov. 17-18, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan. The agency is moving forward with an in-person conference with possible hybrid options available. The conference will highlight the latest policy and research developments of water issues in Kansas as well as the Kansas Water Vision/Plan implementation. The conference will also focus on themes such as: Water Conservation, Water Management, Technology and Crop Varieties, and Additional Sources of Supply. These themes include, but are not limited to: reservoirs; municipal and industrial water; watersheds; High Plains and other aquifers; irrigation and water conservation; droughts, floods, and climate change; water transfers; water reuse; water and energy; water and health. [source]

 

Kansas Water Authority Seeks Regional Advisory Committee Members
The Kansas Water Office is currently accepting applications from those who would like to participate as a member of one of the 14 Regional Advisory Committees (RACs) which are established by the Kansas Water Authority (KWA). These committees play a key role in advising the KWA on implementation of each region’s water supply priorities as part of the state water planning process in Kansas. Interested persons can apply at kwo.ks.gov. The application deadline is June 15.

 

Great Bend Plans Hearing on Auto-Read Water Meters
Dogged by staffing issues and aging infrastructure, the timely and accurate reading of the city’s water meters has been a long-running issue in Great Bend. But, a divided City Council last week authorized moving forward with a public hearing on the $2.1 million project to install an automated meter reading system to help alleviate the problem. “The timely and accurate reading of water meters has been an ongoing issue for many years,” City Administrator Kendal Francis said. “Reading meters at a fast enough pace to read the entire route within the billing cycle leads to errors in data entry, which in turn leads to re-reads and billing errors.” The original plan was to utilize federal COVID-19 recovery stimulus American Rescue Plan funding to purchase the system. However, the city instead intends to apply for a loan through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Kansas Public Water Supply Loan Fund to cover the full cost. [source

 

Russell City Council Approves Consent Agreement, Final Order with KDHE
The Russell City Council met last week and approved a Consent Agreement and Final Order with KDHE with regard to wastewater discharges that occurred in October 2019 and November 2019. One of the discharges came from the cooling towers at the city's power plant. The other unapproved discharge came from the sedimentation basin at the water production facility. KDHE stated neither facility has a National Pollution Elimination Discharge System permit, as such was not permitted to discharge wastewater.[source

 

Missouri River Remains Low Headed Into Summer
Officials may have to increase the amount of water released into the Missouri River from upstream dams over the next couple months to ensure there is enough water in the river for cities that rely on it for water and for barge traffic. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced last week that significantly less water is expected to flow into the river this year because conditions remain so dry and snowpack is below normal levels. April was an exceptionally dry month in the upper basin. Because of that, officials said Thursday that only about 69% of the normal amount of water is expected to flow into the Missouri River this year. [source]

 

From the Wastewater Drain, Solid Pandemic Data
The coronavirus pandemic could turn sewage surveillance into a mainstream public health practice. Wastewater surveillance projects over the past year have validated the idea that wastewater can be a useful way to track infectious disease across entire communities, revealing epidemiological blind spots and yielding actionable public health information. The system that was developed, and others like it now emerging around the world, could ultimately usher in a new age of wastewater epidemiology, helping officials track not just the coronavirus, but also other outbreaks and diseases. “This isn’t the last infectious disease that will come through our water supplies,” said Belinda Sturm, an environmental engineer at the University of Kansas. “This is a tool that we should make sure that we keep sharpened.” [source]

 

Oklahoma Man Horrified After Receiving $62k Water Bill in Mail
A sky-high water bill sent a Del City, Oklahoma, man into panic mode after receiving a $62,000 bill in the mail from Sooner Utilities. Representatives from the utility said it was a meter error. “Automatic meters caused the problem. It rolled back a digit,” said a representative with Sooner Utilities. “Whatever happened has already been corrected. The man owes $17.60.” [source]

 

Kansas River Topeka Weir Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
The Topeka Riverfront Advisory Council (TRAC) in partnership with City of Topeka, Shawnee County, and the Greater Topeka Partnership held a ribbon cutting for the Kansas River Weir Project last Friday. The Kansas River Weir project was designed as an access point to recreation on the river. The first phase of this project is complete on the north bank and the second phase will begin on the south side September 2021. [source

 

City of Council Grove Seeking Applicants for Water Department Foreman
Find details about this and other listings of open job positions as well as people seeking employment at the KRWA Watering Hole

 

KRWA Sponsored Water & Wastewater Training
May 12: Competent Person for Trenching and Excavation (Haysville)
May 13: Confined Space Training (Haysville)
May 19-20: Basic Electrical Maintenance & Troubleshooting (Independence)
May 25: Wastewater Permits, Ordinances, KDHE inspections, and PFAS (Holton)
May 26: Water and Wastewater Utility Workshop: Operations & Management (Tonganoxie)
June 1: Finally - Math Simplified (Online)
June 2-3: Basic Electrical Maintenance and Troubleshooting (Great Bend) 
June 3: Finally - Math Simplified (Online)

 

Drought Monitor
Conditions continue to deteriorate across the southern half of the state, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, but there was also some improvement noted, including a reduction in areas of Severe Drought (D2) in northwestern Kansas.  
Kansas portion of the U.S. Drought Monitor, released May 6, 2021.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central RegionSouthern Plains Region and State of Kansas