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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Governor updates drought list

BY STAN FINGER
The Wichita Eagle

The continuing drought across Kansas prompted Gov. Sam Brownback on Wednesday to add 13 counties to the list of those facing "drought emergencies."

The updated drought declaration allows emergency use of water from state fishing lakes around Kansas.

Soil moisture is below normal in three-fourths of Kansas counties. Stream flow and lake levels are also below normal.

Sedgwick County has been in a drought emergency since Sept. 2, along with Reno, Sumner, Harvey, Harper and Kingman counties in the Wichita metropolitan area.

Wichita has not implemented watering restrictions, and a city official said Wednesday that there are no plans to do so.

Butler County is included in the list of counties where a drought warning — one step below a drought emergency — has been declared.

Residents of Augusta and Mulvane have been operating under water restrictions since mid-July — Mulvane gets its water from Augusta — but this latest declaration won't provide relief.

"I don't see how this will have any effect on what we do," said Jacob Walton, superintendent of the Augusta Water Department.

While the Butler state fishing lake near Beaumont is on the list of allowed water sources, Augusta doesn't use it, Walton said. It's too far away to be feasible.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com.

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