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Wichita officials recommend water restrictions for citizens

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January 14, 2013|by Pilar Pedraza | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

(WICHITA, Kan.) — Wichita city water officials prepare to ask you to use less water.  The Public Works Director told Eyewitness News he will ask the city council next month to consider water restrictions.

Water is a precious resource we all need to survive.  And as you can tell by looking at any river or lake, even our lawns, we're not getting enough of it. 

After three years of drought conditions Sedgwick County area wells are measuring at their lowest levels on record.

"When we didn't get the rains last spring we knew that this was an unusual kind of a weather pattern, that we were continuing on in the kind of drought pattern that we had been seeing," said Alan King, Director of Public Works in Wichita.  "And so we know that we've got to do something."

Cheney Reservoir is one of Wichita's two main sources of water. It's about 40% below normal right now.  The Equus Beds are our other main source.  They too are significantly lower.

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King has been working throughout the winter on a plan to conserve water.  He says there's no way of knowing how much longer the drought will continue or how much lower our water levels will go.

"If you look at a very wide period of time, there were some significant droughts.  Whether we're about due for another one or whether this is two years and then we'll return back to normal, it's anybody's guess," said King.

He plans to take his suggestions to the city council at the end of February.  They include things like restricting when and how much we can water our lawns, as well as ways to increase how much water we have access to.

The final decision on restrictions is up to the city council.  So we won't be seeing any changes until at least early spring.  In the meantime all we  can do is hope for a return of regular, soaking rains to refill our lakes and rivers.

If rains don't return this spring, the Public Works Department plans to suggest some additional, long-term measures to save water later this year.

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