Hearne: Wichita Shocker — Water Your Lawn, Take a $1,000 Hit

water-woes630Here’s one that kinda slipped between the news cracks recently…

That Wichita is considering fines of up to $1,000 a month on residents and businesses that use too much water.

We don’t hear too much about water shortages in these parts – not like my adopted cities of Tucson and Santa Fe – but a wise old sage at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum advised my young daughters several years ago to study hard and specialize in water rights law for the future.

Cities in the desert southwest, Colorado and California are well-acquainted with the looming critical shortage of H20 and are jockeying for control of the wet stuff as we speak.

On the local front, about all I can recall – prior to the recent drought – was Roger the Plumber hawking water-saving Caroma toilets from Australia a handful of years back.

Waltzing_Waters_NightBut think about it…Wichita.

In fact, owing to the water shortage, Wichita‚Äôs vaunted “Waltzing Waters” may not be turned on this year.

The Ta, as some like to call it, isn’t that far from here and the fact that the city has unveiled an actual conservation plan with such severely serious teeth, is a wake up call for us all.

Think about it.

A single reservoir provides something like 64 percent of the Wichita’s water and is forecast to dry up in mid-2015.

Wichita’s game plan: eliminate 50 percent of its summer outdoor water usage. The thousand buck fine would apply to anyone using 310 percent of their average winter water bill in a single month.Drop Falling into Water

And guess what else?

The city’s policy of offering cheap water isn’t helping the conservation cause. Kinda like cheap gas isn’t helping to cause consumers to buy more fuel efficient cars.

Fancy that.

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20 Responses to Hearne: Wichita Shocker — Water Your Lawn, Take a $1,000 Hit

  1. cheech lifting weights says:

    I think it is wasteful and nearly impossible to stop it from drying out in july.

    If Im going to kick the earth in the junk I might as well do something I enjoy like driving a v8 or playing a Gibson with Brazillian rosewood.

  2. Nick says:

    The problem is more severe than that; in Wichita as well as across the West in general, the aquifers are drying up. There is at least a program to refresh the Equus Beds aquifer but the rest of the West doesn’t appear to be as lucky.

    • the dude says:

      The Ogallala aquifer is mostly dried up already, ask any farmer how deep he has to dig his irrigation wells compared to 20 years ago. The bread basket is already drying up as we speak.

  3. Super Dave says:

    This is the real deal. I have an attorney friend who lives in LA and all he deals with is water rights and has written no less than 4 books on the subject. The firm he is with if I remember what he said once has 3 people including him who do nothing but water law. But this isn’t a recent thing he’s been in the practice of water law since 1997.

  4. kansas karl says:

    The Ta? what moron told you that? Doo Dah is the name given by the Keeper of the Plains to the lost whites who chose to settle in the middle of the desert, it starts just west of Lawrence and runs to the mountains on the west.

    • chuck says:

      It does take all the “Doo Dah” day to cross western Kansas.

    • the dude says:

      Hunt a few buffalo and move along, that is about all the land is good for on the high plains. Tha plains natives understood this well. That and maybe grazing cattle on a rotating basis.

  5. smartman says:

    Bollocks! As long as I can walk into a store and choose from 27 different brands of “purified” “distilled” “flavored” or “spring” water there is no water problem.

    The Navy has been cleaning up salt water for use on submarines and other naval ships for ages. Easier to remove the salt than the feces, urine and other human waste that is currently treated at waste water plants.

    More scare tactics from Al “happy ending” Gore and his global warming crowd.

    If you’re really concerned go to patriotsupply.com and purchase some LifeStraw Personal Water Filters.

    • the dude says:

      I wouldn’t say the problem is there not being enough water but us developing where there is none and who controls the water.

  6. smartman says:

    Correction, mypatriotsupply.com

  7. paulwilsonkc says:

    Im still trying to understand why someone waters a lawn. You want to ENCOURAGE mowing? Thats just messed up.

  8. smartman says:

    Never fear the government HAARP program will save the day. What better way to make people more dependent on government than by controlling the weather.

  9. Orphan of the Road says:

    As we ponder the pumping of the aquifer and building leaky pipelines across sensitive areas, let us ponder the mining of water.

    Water is being pumped out of the Great Lakes and shipped to other countries. No environment standards or consideration of replenishing what is taken.

    Dry land farming is using water to grow crops which are generally in surplus.

    The average home owner in Phoenix uses more water than KC. At one time the good folks of Phoenix wanted to clear-cut the trees up in the mountains and line them with plastic so they could get more water for the lawns.

    Phoenix is now a humid outpost in the desert with non-native trees creating a bouquet of pollen.

    Most lawns are monocultures which need too many chemicals and moisture. Probably the highest concentration of hazardous chemicals is your nearest golf course.

    Wait until real sewage treatment is mandated at the lakes with all the summer homes.

    Hope the weather warms so folks can enjoy those fecal-soups at the local pool.


  10. Mysterious J says:

    How many “adopted cities” does one pseudo-journalist need?!?

    • the dude says:

      More than you can count.

    • admin says:

      Well, since you put it that way…

      I’ll let you figure it out. But I lived in Tucson for several years and am back often. So can a pseudo commenter grant me one anyway?

    • admin says:

      Well, since you put it that way…

      I’ll let you figure it out. But I lived in Tucson for several years and am back often. So as a pseudo commenter can you grant me just that one anyway?

  11. Irishguy says:

    “Water Your Lawn, Take a $1,000 Hit”

    Wrong! The city calculated the amount of water needed to keep an average fescue lawn alive during a drought before it set its “threshhold” limit that would trigger the $1,000 penalty.

    The proposed thresshold is three times the normal monthly winter usage, which averages around 6,000 gallons per household. So you would have to exceed 18,000 gallons in any single month to trigger the penalty. And you are not going to reach that unless you are watering your lawn 24/7.

    You might also want to know that as you were posting this, the city was backing off the penalty idea because last week’s torrential rains did a lot to refill the Cheney Reservoir. It is now up to 72 percent capacity from 58 percent last year.

    But the city is still offering the “carrot” — $100 rebates to homeowners who replace old toilets, washing machines and dishwashers with newer, more water-efficient models.

    • the dude says:

      Yes, 2 flushes of the efficient toilets to properly flush the average turd with paper. How is this efficiency?

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