Purchase photos

Businessman urges city to solve issues





RUSSELL -- The Russell City Council heard about water -- and problems about the city's electrical system -- from Curt Mader, who owns Marvin Gardens greenhouse.

He urged the council to keep looking for water.

"These problems have to be fixed," Mader said of water shortages and recent electrical outages.

He apologized to the council for being so passionate about the water issue when the city voted to move into the more restrictive water use phase, but said he's since been contacted about moving his business to another community.

"I don't want to leave this town," he said. "This is my home."

That's an option, however.

"Or I can stand up and say that we need to fix these problems," Mader said. "And if we can't, we need to find someone who can."

The council voted to hire a Denver firm to conduct an independent review of its electrical system.

Mader urged the council to loosen its grip on water use, allowing outside watering twice a week.

"It sounds like we're not as bad as we could be," he said, citing the possibility of recharge from water released from Cedar Buff Reservoir.

There's also talk about building a pipeline from Cedar Bluff to Russell's wellfield.

Russell City Manager Ralph Wise later in the meeting, however, said an adequate amount of water might not be available to help push Russell's water all the way downstream to Pfeifer.

In 2006, said Arlyn Unrein, public works director, releases amounted to nearly 5,000 acre-feet of water.

Only approximately 1,400 acre-feet of water remains in the Kansas Water Office recharge pool in the lake. That's in addition to the 2,000 acre-feet of water Russell has rights to use.

Wise said he and Unrein will be meeting with state water officials next week to talk about water.

Unrein said water levels in Pfeifer wells continue to decline, anywhere from 2 to 6 inches.

"Big Creek is dry," he said. "We haven't used it for several weeks. We're down to one source, which is really scary. Because if anything happens, we're in trouble."