Hesston's water wells are getting close to empty and the city plans to enact mandatory outdoor watering restrictions soon, Hesston City Manager John Carder said Friday.
Once approved, the restrictions will allow only residents with even-numbered addresses to water yards and wash cars on early mornings and late evenings on even-numbered days.
Odd-numbered houses get to water on odd-numbered days.
With the blazing summer heat, more people are irrigating lawns and using more water.
Carder said the city usually issues a warning when the community uses more than 2.1 million gallons in a day. It declares an emergency when it hits 2.4 million gallons in a day.
Thursday's usage hit 3.1 million gallons, he said.
"The wells are still doing well," he said. "It's really the ability to pump enough to keep the towers full with this level of usage."
Carder said water wells about five miles east of Hesston typically have about 40 feet of water. Now the water is about 20 feet deep.
If it is drawn down to 5 feet, the city will essentially shut down all outdoor water use, Carder said.
"We hope that won't be necessary," he said. "And we really wish it'd rain."
Meanwhile, Goddard has started voluntary watering restrictions, which it has done several times in recent years. It also is using the even-odd system for watering.
City wells are doing fine; they are nearly 20 feet deeper than when they were initially dug in the 1960s, said City Administrator Brian Silcott.
"We just want to caution folks to be aware of how they're using water," he said.
About three-quarters of the state is abnormally dry, according to the Kansas Water Office.
Statewide, 62 counties are in drought, with three of them in an emergency stage. Of the 62 counties, 46 are designated federal agricultural disasters because of the dry heat.