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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • Local officals wade through water woes

  • Rain, rain come back our way. This weekend's showers were nice, but more is needed.
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  • Needless to say, this weekends rains were a welcomed sight for Sumner County and surrounding area. But local officials aren't waiting for mother nature to help ease water woes.
    In the northwest corner of the County, three-quarters to one inch of rainfall was measured, the rest of the county gathered anywhere from a tenth of an inch to a half an inch.
    Wellington received a quarter inch, with the city lake gaining one inch, from 57 below pool, to 56, thanks to runoff.
    "That's up from a low of 72," said Wellington City Manager, Gus Collins. "A lot of that is because we've been pumping from the Chikaskia." Recent snowfall has not had a significant impact on Wellington Lake. The rise in water levels is thanks to the three million gallons the City has pumped from the Chikaskia River.
    This time of year, Wellington uses about a million gallons of water per day. The City's water rights limit what can be pumped from the Chikaskia at 486 million gallons annually.
    "So it's a significant amount of water that we can take," Collins said. "What we try to do is take it during the winter time when water is maybe a little bit more plentiful." Spring is approaching quickly– a time when water usage is expected to skyrocket.
    "Probably April when lawns are being started, we'll see a significant demand on our water supply system," Collins added. Between the lake, river and also the nine water wells Wellington has, there are limits with all of them that are hopefully never reached.
    The City of Wellington has also been working with oil companies that are starting their operations in the area. One company has purchased water from the City for $7,000.
    "The one and only rig that we committed to which is now complete, they were capped at 2, and used 1.5 million gallons," Collins explained. "They are now done with the fracking and water they tapped into it." For future oil exploration, the City is looking into providing companies with "gray water," which has no impact on the community's water supply.
    Needless to say, more rain would be a welcomed sight as the warm months approach, with the state still experiencing drought. The City of Wellington is keeping an eye on water that is available and making sure it goes to the people. Currently there are no plans to sell water of any kind to any more oil companies.
    "Right now I'm only interested in what we did, we are not committed, and nor will I until I speak with the governing body and do more research into our water situation," Collins said. "I will not compromise the community's public water supply."

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