Independence, Kan. declares water emergency

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. – The City of Independence is under a water emergency to reduce usage from the Verdigris River. Officials say severe drought conditions have affected the river’s water level. Under the emergency declaration, “all outdoor water use is prohibited, including watering for gardens, lawns, trees, shrubs, plants, playing fields, residential vehicle or building washing and water usage for private swimming pools or other recreational purposes.”

Release from the City of Independence, Kansas:

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The Independence City Commission has declared a water emergency and adopted citywide water conservation measures after receiving orders from the State of Kansas to reduce usage from the Verdigris River.

Assistant City Manager David Cowan informed the commission at its Thursday meeting that a state order had been received last week to take effect October 20 limiting the City’s maximum pumping capacity from the river due to severe drought conditions affecting the river’s water level and no significant rainfall in the immediate forecast.

Under the emergency declaration, all outdoor water use is prohibited, including watering for gardens, lawns, trees, shrubs, plants, playing fields, residential vehicle or building washing and water usage for private swimming pools or other recreational purposes. Water usage for the care of livestock or pets is not restricted, and no restrictions are in place at this time for commercial water usage, including car washes.

“We greatly appreciate the community’s help in conserving our critical water supply until we are no longer living in a drought situation,” Cowan said.

Cowan explained the City’s average water use from the river is between 1,175 and 1,250 gallons per minute or 1.5 to 1.7 million gallons per day. The current state order restricts usage to a maximum of 1,176 gallons per minute, which is at the low end of the City’s average, he noted, but restriction orders will be updated each Friday and, without significant rainfall soon, it’s possible the pumping limit will be reduced to below our normal usage.