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Wichita officials to report to state task force on drought

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, at 9:02 a.m.

Wichita officials will report to a state task force Friday on the state of the city’s water resources and plans to mitigate the effects of the ongoing Kansas drought.

The report will be delivered during a meeting of Gov. Sam Brownback’s drought response team.

The 12-member team, led by Kansas Water Office Director Tracy Streeter, will also receive updates on water conditions around the state and resources available to help Kansans cope with the drought.

Experts say the now-melting blanket of snow across the state is expected to improve subsurface moisture conditions somewhat, but not enough to declare an end to the drought.

The most recent drought report, prepared before the record snowfalls of the past week, showed isolated areas of water emergency conditions in south Sedgwick and central Butler counties, along with a larger water emergency area in parts of Montgomery and Chautauqua counties.

Under emergency conditions, government can order mandatory conservation measures and/or water rationing to ensure adequate supplies to avert economic dislocation and meet critical public health and safety needs.

The report also showed nearly the entire Neosho River watershed as being under a water warning, which triggers a coordinated government response and concerted efforts to encourage voluntary conservation.

Watch conditions prevailed in much of north-central Kansas, including Lincoln, Ellsworth, Saline and Russell counties, along with counties in and around the Kansas City metropolitan area. A water watch is essentially an alert to begin light conservation and planning to prepare for potential future drought-related problems.

The drought response team will meet at 10 a.m. Friday at the Kansas Department of Agriculture office, 109 S.W. 9th St., Topeka.

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