The feasibility of a Wholesale Water District.

As years go by, water is becoming one of the most important resources to any city.

Local voters approved a one-cent sales tax to expand and improve Augusta’s access to water from El Dorado Lake

Augusta also has Santa Fe Lake – which is full again – and the city lake when it recharges.

There are also plans under way to use Walnut River water nine months out of the year to keep the city lake full. Water rights and delivery mechanisms have to be acquired in order for that plan to be instituted.

Augusta sells water to two rural water districts and also the City of Mulvane. Mulvane recently brought two of its five wells back online and is in the process of building its own water treatment plant to purify that well water.

Augusta and Mulvane recently used a state grant and their own funds to pay for a study to determine the feasibility of a Wholesale Water District. The City of Rose Hill joined in the study but did not contribute funds since that city purchases its water from Wichita. There is a chance that Rose Hill could choose to purchase some water from the new district to meet some of its excess demands.

Seven options for the proposed district have been identified but cost, delivery method and connectivity eliminated five of the alternatives from further consideration.

The two methods that survived initial consideration include:

• Alternative One – expand the Augusta water treatment plant to 7.5 million gallons per day and keep all of the other facilities as planned.

• Alternative Three – Convert the El Dorado pipeline to a potable water line and keep Mulvane and Augusta treatment plants for supplementary usage from wells and other lakes.

If the district is formed, members of the district would have to compensate Augusta for the facilities and pipelines that are in place when it is formed. The formation of a district would nullify all water sales contracts and create a new method of funding water delivery in the region.

This work session was very preliminary. A next step might include an additional study alongside KDHE to consider the financial and other impacts to the cities included in the district.

Mulvane and Augusta’s city councils have heard the presentation and Rose Hill will soon. If all potential members are satisfied, the next study could be commissioned.