WICHITA, Kansas — Wichita officials are reviewing water conservation plans in the wake of recent rains that have filled the city's once-dwindling reservoir.
The city announced in February that Cheney Reservoir would run dry in 2015 if the drought continued. The city then launched conservation efforts, including education initiatives and rebates to water users with energy-efficient appliances.
Cheney Reservoir, which provides much of the city's water, is now nearly full and forecasts call for more precipitation this winter, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/IwoBIC ).
Council member Janet Miller said at a recent meeting that water conservation should be an ongoing priority, not just when there are shortages like the three-year drought, which ended in August.
"I know we won't solve the problem with water conservation alone, but we keep talking about we have a plan we will employ when we get to a drought," Miller said. "Other communities across the country, that's their first strategy, to reduce base usage. I see us doing the opposite and I keep being patted on the head whenever I bring up the subject. That's not the best practice of the rest of the country."
The city, however, received a lot of complaints from citizens after officials proposed fines up to $1,000 for chronic big water users. The city's drought plan eventually included smaller financial penalties.
"Candidly, the community push-back to doing anything meaningful on conservation after a three-year drought makes you wonder how much will this community be willing to do to get meaningful conservation," City Manager Robert Layton said.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com