By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT
The Hays City Commission will debate a proposed ordinance giving city staff the option to ask the state for power over regulating private wells during its 6:30 p.m. meeting Thursday at city hall.
The measure is among other voluntary and mandatory steps in the drought response plan aimed at conserving water. The Kansas Water Office has suggested the idea for private well compliance during a water warning or emergency.
The changes also would include not issuing permits for newly seeded/sodded lawns during the water warning stage and updating the second conservation tier water rates during the water warning/emergency stages.
Along the same line, city staff has recommended irrigation regulations. The rules would target irrigated areas' size, sprinkler heads' location and the types of vegetation allowed to be irrigated. New commercial properties with permanent irrigation systems would have to install irrigation meters, and multi-family properties would be billed for uses related to residential use.
For commercial sites without an irrigation meter using potable water to irrigate, they would be billed under a new rate. Properties can install an irrigation meter if they do not want to pay the new tier's rates.
The commission also would have the power to adopt additional water rates during the emergency stage.
Other business on the agenda:
* Commissioners will continue a discussion on adopting stricter rules for new construction projects and remodel. More efficient water fixtures could save 20 percent more water than federal standards.
* A new contract for the city's broker and risk management services will be considered.
* Overland Property Group LLC will ask commissioners to officially support the company's pursuit of tax credits to build affordable housing on East 22nd Street.
* The provider of communication services for the Bickle/Schmidt Sports Complex, Nex-Tech, has asked to transfer website services to the News Publishing Company, owner of The Hays Daily News.