Thursday, January 24, 2019
"An investment in Knowledge pays the best Interest."

Ben Franklin's words still ring true today. So we pick out the most appropriate articles in current events and news regarding the Water Industry both nationally and in Kansas to filter the most pertinent information for you.

Weekly News - Jan. 7, 2019

01/07/2019 - Weekly KRWA E-News

KGS and DWR to Measure Groundwater Levels
Crews from the Kansas Geological Survey and KDA's Division of Water Resources are set to begin their annual measurements of groundwater levels this month. Most of the measured wells are drilled into the High Plains aquifer in western Kansas, which is used for irrigation, industrial and municipal water. Brett Wedel, a field research assistant, with the Kansas Geological Survey, checks a well east of Liberal on a previous January trip to measure groundwater levels.“Most have been measured for years, even decades,” noted Brett Wedel, manager of the KGS’s water-level-data acquisition. Groundwater levels in much of western Kansas have dropped as pumping increased over the past 70 years. Declines in some areas, particularly southwest Kansas, accelerated in the early 2000s when prolonged drought conditions led to increased pumping. Of the more than 1,400 wells monitored in 48 counties, the KGS will measure 581, while crews from DWR’s field offices in Garden City, Stafford and Stockton will measure 840. Groundwater levels are measured during the winter months to avoid recording short-term declines caused by widespread pumping during the growing season. The information is used to determine the health of the aquifer and whether water management policies are making a difference. [source]


Northwest Kansas GMD No. 4 LEMA Challenge Dismissed
On Dec. 26, 2018, the Thomas County District Court dismissed Woofter v KDA, which sought review of the Chief Engineer’s order establishing Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District (GMD) No. 4’s “district-wide” Local Enhanced Management Area (LEMA) generally, and in particular, the order’s delegating decisions related to setting allocations for the plaintiffs to the GMD. The judge determined that that Chief Engineer lawfully delegated the ability to set and review LEMA allocations via the LEMA’s management plan to the GMD. The judge’s order and related information are available on KDA/DWR’s website.  This leaves Friesen vs. Barfield (with 44 petitioners) as the remaining court challenge to the GMD4’s LEMA. [source]


EPA Region 7 Remains Partially Staffed Despite Government Shutdown
The Environmental Protection Agency, which had sufficient funds to function a week longer than some agencies, implemented its shutdown plan at midnight on Dec. 29. EPA spokeswoman Molly Block said many of the agency's 14,000 employees were being furloughed, while disaster-response teams and certain other employees deemed essential would stay on the job. That includes workers needed for preventing immediate public health threats at more than 800 Superfund hazardous-waste sites. Sarah Watterson, a furloughed office manager at the EPA’s Superfund division in Kansas City, estimated about 20 of the 500 employees who work for the EPA Region 7 office have been exempted, and have continued working during the shutdown without pay.


Distinguished Kansan and Land Institute Founder Creates First Perennial Grain
A bowl of Kernza grains.Wes Jackson’s drive to be physically and intellectually engaged with the world is reaping agricultural breakthroughs once thought impossible. “My motto has been: If you’re working on something you can finish in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough,” the founder and president emeritus of The Land Institute near Salina recently told the Topeka Capital Journal. Jackson, who grew up on a Kansas farm, is ahead of schedule in his quest to create sustainable grains that can endure season after season. His vision has yielded Kernza, the first new grain in 4,200 years and the first perennial grain ever. Kernza grains are mahogany in color and the size of rice or grass seed. A crop of Kernza covers the farm year-round and is not tilled for planting each season; it absorbs water and prevents runoff, reduces erosion, captures carbon and provides year-round ground cover for wildlife. When cooked, whole-grain Kernza has a wheaten, slightly nutty flavor with notes of molasses. It is being grown experimentally on all five continents with limited commercial availability, including use in Long Root Ale sold by Patagonia. Additional information about this perennial grain can also be found in the latest issue of The Kansas Lifeline.


Wichita Developer Told to Lose his Outhouse — or His Whole House
A Wichita couple's home at Marion County Lake, complete with private well and outhouse, is drawing fire from officials. The county filed a petition in court Dec. 19, asking a judge to order the outhouse and well removed and the residence be connected to public water and sewer systems, or if not, everything including the residence itself be removed within 90 days. The petition for injunctive relief, filed by county commissioners and their zoning administrator claims the water well and outhouse are in violation of county zoning regulations and sanitary code. The petition also states no plans were approved and no permit granted for the well and outhouse. “The property is within the Marion County Lake Improvement District and is eligible to connect to a public water supply and public wastewater systems through the district,” the petition states. [source]


Cessation of Juneau’s Water Fluoridation Program has Increased Kid Cavities
Alaska's capital stopped fluoridating its tap water about 12 years ago and a new study says Juneau's children are paying a price. Public health researcher Jennifer Meyer studied dental claims before and after fluoride was removed and was published in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Oral Health. She reviewed a year's worth of data before fluoride went away and a year's worth five years after fluoride was removed, for about 1,900 children in all. The study did not change the opinion of David Ham, who pushed to take fluoride out of Juneau's water in 2006. "I believe I have the right to have a public water supply that is pure and to decide for myself what medicines I wish to take, and I just don't wish to be exposed to a toxic chemical, fluoride," he said. [source]

Ohio Governor Signs Bill Requiring Students to Learn Cursive
Cursive alphabet.At some point during the age of advanced technology, keyboards and electronic signatures, cursive handwriting stopped being taught in elementary schools. Ohio has decided that cursive isn't obsolete. A new law will require students to write legibly in cursive by the end of fifth grade. The handwriting instructional materials must be part of school curriculum by July 1. Opponents say schools aren’t teaching cursive because it is an outdated technology. Students aren’t using the skill later in life – and mostly haven’t been for decades. [source


Kansas Winter Water Technology Expo
Farmers and ranchers in southwest and south central Kansas who are eager to learn more about improving water management through technology, soil moisture monitoring, crop selection and other tools, are invited to attend the Winter Water Technology Expo, Jan. 8, in Dodge City. The event is free and open to the public and will feature a wide variety of companies and organizations focused on water technology and opportunities. [source]


Video Shows Deer Being Rescued After Falling Into Well
Abandoned or open water wells are not only a danger to the groundwater supply and people, they can also pose a hazard to wildlife. As an example, a Pennsylvania man recently made a call to emergency response after finding a deer splashing around at the bottom of his open well. [source]


KRWA Training Calendar


Jan. 22-25: Manhattan
Cross Connection - Backflow Prevention


Jan. 23: El Dorado
Math Refresher Course, Water Chemistry, Operations, Regulatory Updates


Feb. 5: Pittsburg
Math Refresher Course for Water and Wastewater Operators


Feb. 6-7: Pittsburg
Activated Sludge


Mar. 26, 27 and 28: Wichita
KRWA Annual Conference & Exhibition


Drought Monitor
For the first time since June 2017, the Kansas portion of the U.S. Drought Monitor is free of drought and abnormally dry conditions. Several rounds of precipitation over the last two weeks have largely erased the 30-day to 90-day precipitation deficits that had been growing in southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma. A general outlook published prior to the government shutdown indicated that most of Kansas should experience normal temperatures and normal precipitation for the remainder of January. For the week ahead, the NOAA/WPC 7-day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast appears to indicate dry conditions for all but southeast Kansas.

Kansas detail from the U.S. Drought Monitor, published Jan. 4, 2019.

Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central RegionSouthern Plains Region and State of Kansas