In its continuing efforts to be a leader in conservation, the city of Hays once again will be enforcing water restrictions from noon to 7 p.m. June 1 to Sept. 30 when evaporation is at its peak.
That means no outside watering between those hours, except for newly seeded Bermuda or buffalo grass lawns, which is allowed with a permit from the city.
Even private wells are included in the prohibition, now that the Division of Water Resources has signed off on the restrictions.
This measure is part of a greater interest to reduce water waste and improve conservation practices in the areas of the Intensive Groundwater Use Control Areas located in Hays.
The IGUCA in Hays was established in 1985 at the request of the city to help implement water conservation measures. It provides a mechanism to address preventable water waste by privately owned wells.
“Citizens are also advised not to wash down hard surfaces such as sidewalks, driveways and concrete surfaces because runoff can occur,” Kim Rupp, Hays finance director, said at Tuesday’s city press briefing. “Citizens are urged to be vigilant and not allow substantial amounts of water to escape and drain from private property on to public property such as streets, including curbs, guttering and rights-of-way.”
A first time offense is a warning, a second offense is $50, a third offense is $200, a fourth offense is $250, a fifth offense and additional violations are $300. Fines are cumulative during a two-year period, so if a resident received one last year, it does count for this year.
“The public’s cooperation conserving and making wise use of water year round is recognized and appreciated,” Rupp said.
Director of Utilities Bernie Kitten said water levels in the city wells are high and although the area still is considered to be in a drought, he doesn’t anticipate stepping up restrictions for the summer months, going into a watch or warning.
“We should make it into the summer without any trouble,” Kitten said.
Hays Police Chief Don Scheibler said there were 129 violations last year, and 15 of those were repeat offenders.
“Most people, once you point out the problem, take care of the problem,” Scheibler said.
The department does keep an eye out year-round for water waste, but efforts increase during the summer.
Rupp also advised people with timers to keep an eye on the timer.
“Don’t set it and forget it,” Rupp said. “Look at the weather.
“Use common sense conservation efforts.”
He said if it’s going to rain or is windy, turn off the timer.
• Hays is becoming a more bicycle friendly community, and to celebrate the city’s 18 miles of on-street painting, a ground-painting ceremony will be at 5:30 p.m. June 4 at 11th and Main.
Kandango Bike Ride, a bike tour on the back roads of Kansas, is hosting the celebration and will include music and vendors. There will be 150 bicycle riders from across the state present.
Community members are urged to ride their bicycles and wear a helmet.
• Assistant City Manager Paul Briseno said the concrete path on the levee should be done by the end of May or the first of June. Added to the concrete path at 41st Street, there will be close to 3 miles of concrete.
At the city’s work session at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the city offices, the commissioners will discuss:
• The removal of the CID policy from the economic development policy. Commissioner Henry Schwaller IV requested it be discussed.
• Contract sewer cleaning. Hays cleans one-sixth of the community each year, and has one-sixth cleaned by contract. The entire system will be cleaned every three years to help prevent backups.
• The sale and use of fireworks for July 4. Briseno said at this time, the city does not see a compelling reason to suspend fireworks.