Water is shown behind the dam and the spillway (shown in front) at the Augusta City Lake a year ago. In 2010, the water reached the top of the spillway on the left side. Currently, the city of Augusta is working on a spillway project near the dam.
The Augusta city manager and Mulvane’s city administrator, along with both communities’ attorneys, met on Friday to discuss water issues and provisions of the water contracts between the two cities.
“In the end, it was a healthy conversation that included the potential for partnerships in the future and a brainstorming of potential joint solutions,” according to a joint statement released by Bill Keefer, Augusta city manager, and Kent Hixson, Mulvane city administrator.
Mulvane purchases its water from Augusta under a long-term contract between the two cities. However, the on-going drought and high temperatures, along with increasing use by Mulvane residents, has raised concerns from both governments as to whether the agreement could be met.
By contract, Augusta has to supply Mulvane up to 200 million gallons of water annually. Mulvane has used 94 million gallons so far in 2012.
For Augusta, there are issues with low water levels at its city lake source and no easy solution for pumping larger amounts of water which are available from El Dorado Lake. On the other side of the coin, Mulvane is growing and has added a senior housing complex, along with the Kansas Star Casino. An aging line from Augusta to Mulvane also hampers an increase in water to that city.
In the short-term, Mulvane has agreed to supplement its water supply with its other resources, according to the joint statement. Mulvane recently spent $75,000 to get two former city wells operational. The well water has a high mineral content, so the plan had previously been to use the wells only as an emergency water source.
“Based on a conversation we had (earlier this month), it will be at least 10 days to a month before we can blend Augusta’s water supply with the well water,” said Hixson. “It has to be chlorine and ammonia treated, and we’ll have to modify the wells in order to safely mix the warmer surface water from Augusta with the colder well water.”
As a long-term solution, the cities agreed to meet again at the end of August to discuss partnerships and solutions.
Water restrictions remain in effect for both Mulvane and Augusta.
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