Purchase photos

Water release back on for Monday





CEDAR BLUFF RESERVOIR -- The plan to release water from Cedar Bluff Reservoir to help replenish the city of Hays wellfield near Schoenchen is back on.

The Kansas Water Office on Friday announced the release will start Monday.

"The forecasted temperatures for this coming weekend and early next week makes Monday a good choice for starting the release," said Tracy Streeter, KWO director. "The snow and subsequent melt will be beneficial in enhancing the effect of the release in the river valley."

Initially, the release was scheduled to begin a week ago, but heavy snow and cold weather raised concerns about the water being able to make a quick trip down the Smoky Hill River to the Hays wellfield.

Now, Streeter and Hays City Manager Toby Dougherty are hoping the extra moisture from more than a foot of snow will actually boost the amount of water to reach Schoenchen.

The request for a water release came from Dougherty in mid-December, when he asked for water from the KWO's artificial recharge pool in Cedar Bluff Reservoir.

Because the lake is nearly 20 feet low, the amount remaining in the recharge pool is down.

Currently, only 1,247 acre-feet of water remains in the pool, about 406 million gallons.

The city of Russell, which owns the right to release 2,000 acre-feet of water, hasn't called for a release, suggesting it instead will see how the release for Hays goes.

Russell has been actively working on two other water sources near the city's Pfeifer wellfield.