The unanimous vote was made in response to the regional drought in hopes that residents will be more mindful of their water use.
“We’ve had a couple of real dry summers,” City Superintendent Bill Maurer said. “We started (the watch) early and asked people to conserve as long as it stays dry. We might not have to go any father than that if they do it voluntarily.”
Maurer said the area’s wells are four to five feet below normal water levels. He said the water levels for the Inman area are not at a critical point, but the city’s decision was made to prevent a repeat of what has happened in recent years, when Inman nearly reached its pump limit.
“I think we'll be all right as long as people don’t waste,” he said. “If we have two or three more dry summers, then we may be concerned, but if people watch, I think we’ll be all right.”
Maurer said some residents have a tendency to use excess water when watering their lawns, for example. If that is seen during the watch, the city will address that excess use.
In addition, Maurer suggests individuals take shorter showers, wash larger loads of laundry, and use other practical water-saving tips. The city superintendent said he has heard no complaints about the watch and anticipates smart conservation practices.
“We have some pretty good residents,” he said.
No other McPherson County cities are under similar water watches. Lindsborg, however, has an annual summertime conservation routine and is working to review and revise its water management plan.
“From a water supply perspective, we’re doing OK in the short-term,” Board of Public Utilities General Manager Tim Maier said, adding short-term referred to the next 20 years.
The last few years, however, have shown particularly low levels of precipitation. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports the county is in extreme drought, at a level three on the scale of zero to four.
The central Kansas region is expected to get from six to 10 inches of snow and sleet today and Thursday.
Although this will not make up for more than two years of inadequate moisture, any rain or snow is a long-awaited relief to the area drought.