Top Residential Water Users in 2012 (Video) – Clarification

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Hays City Manager Toby Dougherty issued a news release Thursday morning (see below) which apologizes for errors in a recently released list of the top 100 residential water users in Hays.

That list was distributed to various media, including Eagle Communications and Hays Post, which used the incorrect information in our news stories earlier this month. 

We have updated our news stories with the change. 
August 15, 2013

Apology for Errors on Top 100 Residential Water Users List

In June, City staff prepared a list of the top 100 residential waters users. This list was distributed to the City Commissioners as part of a water planning session. Shortly after the planning session, the Hays Daily News and Hays Post requested copies of the report. After consultation with the City Attorney, it was determined that the information was public record and therefore released.

It has come to my attention that 19 names were inadvertently placed on the list that were not in the top 100 users. The error is unacceptable and inexcusable. I take full responsibility and apologize to these 19 customers for any inconvenience that has resulted from the publication of the list with their name included. Customers who were incorrectly included on the list are:

Tom Thaemert
Scott Schneider
Ben Hammerschmidt
Michael Graham
Travis Rozean
Curt Kitson
Gerold Linenberger
Merlin Romme
Bob White
Chad Peterson
Roger Rohr
Greg Pfannenstiel
Marina Neira
Eric Schibi
Jeff Luebbers
Tim Herman
KC Western Investments
Austin Base
Adam Tabor

Again, I apologize for the error. It is unprofessional and unacceptable.

City of Hays staff has a duty to our customers to ensure errors like this are caught before they become part of the public record. I will do my best to ensure it does not happen in the future.

Toby Dougherty
City Manager
City of Hays
Phone: (785) 628-7320



Clarification: The water usage data listed below that was given to the Hays City Commission consisted of water usage data from 2012.  City Director of Finance Kim Rupp confirmed to Hays Post that Stormwater Superintendent Nicholas Willis had requested for the 2012 data to be collected and presented to the commission to demonstrate water usage from the previous year.

This list was given to the Hays City Commission at the June 20th Work Session and contains the top 100 residential water customers in Hays, an address, and the amount of water used. The yellow shaded area is for the the top 1%.

Most individuals on this list were unaware of their water status and more than willing to work to reduce their water use.

According to Hay City Manager Toby Dougherty, the average residential household uses 8,000 cubic feet of water annually.

Top 100 residential water users in Hays. Those in yellow are the top 1%  Click the list for a closer look.

Top 100 residential water users in Hays. Those in yellow are the top 1% Click the list for a closer look.

Top 100 residential water users in Hays. Those in yellow are the top 1%  Click the list for a closer look.

Top 100 residential water users in Hays. Those in yellow are the top 1% Click the list for a closer look.

The city sent each of of these listed a letter to inform them of their water status.The city sent 569 letters to water users.

The Hays Police Department is in charge of complaints and violations about water use.  Chief Don Scheibler explains it’s an extra duty and officers do not patrol specifically to find wasted water:

Complaints or observations of water waste also come from the public…

Between June 1 and July 30, Hays police issued 81 notices of violation.  Fifty-eight of those were to residential customers; 23 went to business customers.


June 1-July 30

 81 Total

58 Residential—23 Business


  • Scott

    Holy hell

  • JR

    it should be very obvious, though, that some of these are rentals, since people are listed multiple times as property owners. still, that does not take away from the fact that many property owners seem just plain careless.

  • just sayin

    Nobody on the list in my part of town. our part of town has bermuda and weeds growing. don’t take a whole lot of water for that. but for those individuals that have a ton of money don’t really care. they’ll pay any penalties or fines as long as their fescue or bluegrass stay green. the only time they’ll complain is when they turn on the spigot and nothing comes out. then it will be the city’s fault.

  • A_citizen_patriot

    No wonder there is a water shortage. Some people are using a tad more then they need.

  • Just amazed.

    Wow, We live in Ellis. I thought 3 to 4 thousand gallons a month was bad. Thats no outside water. Yes we have bermuda. It has stood well through the drought. Yes at a point it was brown. But now with rain it has turned back to green.

  • wow

    Interesting that the new 489 efficiency consultant is near the top of the list. For $60,000, I’d be happy to explain to him how to use water more efficiently.

    • taco paco

      WOW Randy buddy! great example you set being a former city mang. what are you maintaining in your backyard–a lake? come on people. penalties won’t do the trick. rich people don’t care. they’ve got the jack to pay a penalty. threaten to shut their water off completely if they keep this nonsense up.

    • Just Saying

      that is 60,000 cubic feet of water which figures out to $2200….is it right no but just wanted to clearify that those numbers are not dollars!!! something should be done to all these people on this list and then some

      • wow

        Yep, I realize the figures here are water, not dollars. The $60,000 I mentioned is a figure I’ve read that Gustafston will potentially make for advising USD 489 on how to be more efficient.

  • jory j

    This really upsets me. The city of Hays NEEDS TO DO SOMETHING!! Monetary fines are obviously not going to cut it. Have these people no morals??

    • Morals?

      Morals? What law has been broken here? Because people used more water (presumably) than you? Extending your logic here, would people who drive Suburbans or F250s are “immoral” because they’re using more of a resource than others? I don’t think so. And as the article noted, many on the list didn’t know they were such high users, and have begun cutting back. If there’s a new list in a year, and if the same names are on it…..

  • Scott

    Kudos for posting this for all to see. Regardless it is public info everyone can get. How many gallons in an Olympic size pool? Over 100000 makes me wonder if they ever turn off the sprinklers. How much does the hospital or businesses use in a given month?

    • Scott

      88,000 cf in an Olympic size pool. WOW

  • BS

    Thank you. Most of these people that post have nothing better than to tear people down.

  • BS

    Very proud to be on this list but why is this something that is posted to public. Why don’t we post all the residents in our community that don’t pay for their water or are behind on their payments. We pay for ours and don’t mind paying the hundreds of dollars every month to make our homes look nice, especially after what we paid to have them started. Don’t throw out how much water we use without putting out there how much we spend to keep them looking nice. And funny how no city officials names are in this list. Lets drive around and look at their yards and landscaping. How does their keep so green? Water wells maybe?, same restrictions as all of us but humm. Enough said

    • water miser

      You must be one of the Thunderbird scum who think you are above the law and better than the decent citizens in town because you can afford to waste water..nothing worse than nouveau riche ( new money trash) elitests who think they’re above the law..

      • Rude

        And what trash are you in this town “Water Miser”?

      • Scum

        I am glad that you are showing maturity with 3rd grade name calling. I am Thunderbird “scum”. Got an education, got a job, saved money, wife did the same and we bought a home here. Apparently we are now lesser people because we want a nice house. News to me that I am an ‘elitest’, most people don’t treat me as such. I didn’t break any laws to make my living. Yeah, there are an inordinate amount of water hogs up here, but not all of us ‘scum’…..

    • just some guy

      the reason why your house is so expensive is because you paid that much for it. if we all stopped buying gas (like i have) gas prices would go down, its the same as housing prices, granted not everybody can sell their cars and walk or ride a bike to get around like i do, but some should at least try, also like saving water, and i know what you all are thinking that im just a pipe dreamer, and crazy

      • countryboy

        If you so against oil then you need to not use your phone, computer, not ride your bike or wear your walking shoes. Petroleum is used to make more than just Gas.

        • just some guy

          really countryboy can you even read sir? im talking about the price of FUEL (gasoline) would go down if everybody quit paying the price for it. where in my writing did i post that i was against oil? this is why i dont believe in the bible, simply because words can be taken so many different ways especially by people like you mister

  • hmmmmm

    Thanks for the rebuttal Aaron.!!

  • ????

    Lol..the ”facts”.?? According to who.?? You? Mr/Mrs. Get the facts? I have a feeling that you’re probably clueless too..and as far as not breaking the law.? Stop splitting hairs..its apparent that you feel there’s two sets of for citizens and one for cops..

  • UPRR

    While we’re talking water resources…. Can the city require/ask/sue the railroad to replace the 1.3 million gallons of water that was used to put out the fire (caused by their employees’ negligence) ? Should take about 50 tanker cars from outside the state. They’re passing thru town anyway.

    • just some guy

      we should be glad that we had that 1.3 million gallons of water to use for that purpose, and just be glad that it was contained rather quickly. what would happen if one of hays high rise buildings have a huge fire that destroys (hope it never happens) the building, 1.3 million gallons is a drop in the bucket (pun intended) what are we going to do then? make it a control burn when the firefighters turn on the hydrant and nothing comes out. saving water is not just about a brown lawn, its about saving our lives. Chicago fire ring a bell?, they ran out of water, granted that was a long time ago and equipment now a days is a lot better. BUT what good is high tech fire equipment when there is no water available. just a thought from just some guy.

      • hays sucks

        What high rise buildings.??

        • just some guy

          I forgot where i was living, high rise can be defined as a building with 3 or more floors, ie. Emprise bank building, Cennential towers, Epworth towers, almost every building in the chestnut street district, just to name a few, and here is 3 that will meet your exceptions “hays sucks” THE 3 GRAIN ELEVATORS THAT ELLIS COUNTY HAS, Antonino, Yosomento,and Hays, its very rare BUT they do catch fire, just ask the people that fought the one on main street, around 1981 probably before your time im guessing

    • railroad

      And are you an investigator with the railroad? Why don’t we wait for the actual investigation to finish before we point fingers at whose fault it was. Very well could have been vandalism as well, not negligence…

      • UPRR_Ver2.0

        “…are you an investigator with the railroad? ” No, but as a pseudo-anonymous internet user, it is my God-given right to pass judgement and provide unparalleled expert commentary on all matters that tickle my fancy. Seriously, you are correct – I should not have assumed RR employee negligence. I didn’t realize that in 2013, trains could so easily be rerouted by vandals. The news reports stated that the moving train had been diverted from the main line to a side track, where the derailment and subsequent fire took place. Whatever party is responsible, it’d be great if we can get that water back, because the green green lawns haven’t be watered in the past 3 hours.
        Finally, one has to wonder just how objective the investigation will be, if it is conducted by railroad personnel and not an independent group like the NTSB ? Call me a cynic.
        Now, let’s get back to the digitized flogging of the 100 people on this list !

        • railroad_v2.0

          There are really three separate investigations going on at this point, one by the UP, one by the FRA, and one by the NTSB. The UP and FRA are trying to figure out exactly what happened. The NTSB will be investigating to make recommendations, so that it can’t happen somewhere else. At this point all three parties are still attempting to determine how the train went through a switch that should have been lined for mainline movement…

  • just some guy

    don’t private wells come from the same aquifer? and it doesn’t matter which one it is, and it doesn’t section off each persons water, its everybody’s water and even with a private well we should conserve

    • passin_threw

      actually the private wells don’t come from the same aquifer. but nice try

      • just some guy

        i know that pal, there is the DAKOTA aquifer the OGALLALA and probably a few others but one thing for sure, it does come from the same earth, you know the one that we ALL live on, nobody really has rights to something that we all have no choice but to share

        • passin_threw

          if you KNEW that PAL then why say something that’s not the truth? and just so you know i was saying i bet they wish they had a well since so many on the list seem to be in a tizzy about this information being shared. was also told that the names listed was a month in 2012.

          • just some guy

            what part of what i said was not the truth “passing gas” whoops i mean threw. all i posted was a question about the aquifer’s it was meant to be rhetorical

  • Shocked

    Wow! Personal attacks over water use. So much classier then those using the water. Nothing like leaders of the community shaming law abiding, tax payers and dividing the community.

    • T-Bone’s Girl

      Agreed! How dare the city release this PERSONAL information! This has to be illegal.

  • Uncle Thomas

    Would be interesting to know the amount wasted by the private well owners within the city limits.
    Be interesting to know the business usage within the city limits.
    Most major water users have negotiated rights with the state…hospital, university, country club, etc. What we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg!
    Does the city finance man still fill his pool in these times of drought?

    • BS

      Perfect example of this was Midwest Energy watering this morning while it is raining. Don’t see their name on any list.

    • Mrs. Fisher

      FYI…a pool fill is a one time a year thing. My pool is 12000 gallons. That is a drop in the bucket compared to how much water goes on a green lawn all spring, summer and fall. to me it’s a trade off. I don’t water my lawn, it’s wasteful and the only purpose is cosmetic.

  • Uncle Thomas

    Very interesting to find some of those who are wasting money on a green lawn have filed bankruptcy in either Wichita or Topeka Federal court. Now they are wasting the dollars they claim they don’t have on water…

    • Hays Sucks

      You rock Uncle Thomas !!

  • Lisa

    What amazes me, its the fact that we are arguing over the fact that “we worked hard for our money and we can afford to pay for overusing water”. I think we are missing the point here. We all work hard for the money we have, the point is, if water was not in a shortage ….I wouldn’t care how much you use. But, since it is and when it’s gone, it’s not going to matter if you have tons of money, it’s not going to be there when we need it.

  • T-Bone

    Whoever post a negative response to this is a socialistic pig. You probably voted for Obama. Our country is becoming a police state. The food we eat is controlled ( Monsanto). We are told how much water we can use out of our own well. I’m not on the list, but I’m sickened by you communists. First of all, the city and news allowed people’s names and addresses to be published in this article causing tax paying, great Americans, to be chastised by fellow “self proclaimed” Americans. This sets a platform for hate crimes, neighbor against neighbor. As a veteran, I’m appalled at your hateful comments. If want to be sheep, do it quietly. You should be ashamed of yourselves. FREEDOM!!!

    • Anon

      As a veteran myself, I’m sick and tired of dolts like you using “as a veteran” as if it makes your argument any stronger. OMG! You served your country. Good for you! Quit trying to get pats on the back. Just be outraged at the current issue and move along. *facepalm*

      • tbone

        Well Anon, it’s obvious we fought for different things. Me for freedom and rights and your for a police state. glad you weren’t in my foxhole! You served the US military right? Where will it stop. Food, water, how many children we have, what church we can attend?

    • Guie Le Deuche

      As a veteran you should know that in times of crisis, like the current drought, it is not uncommon for a governing body to regulate essential resources and commodities. For example, during World War II a wide variety of raw materials and products were rationed — gasoline, nylon, sugar, and even typewriters.

    • runner

      You the same t-bone that was charged with arson on your own building???

      • hmmmmm

        Lol. !!!!

    • Joe

      You better make a trip to Dillons to pick up some more aluminum foil, as I think your current hat isn’t getting the job done. In my experience, anyone that shouts out “FREEDOM” is for anything but.

    • just some guy

      then t-bone you need to move to russia, north korea, china

    • T-Bone’s Mom

      The real crime here is that you can’t write in English and it’s probably the only language you know.

    • alexander

      “As a veteran”
      Now who is the Commie socialist living off public monies?

    • Mrs. Fisher

      The goal here, as far as the city is concerned is to pit everyone against each other. When they do this, people stop paying attention to what government is doing because they are too busy arguing with each other. I don’t feel anyone’s name should be released unless you are a registered sex offender. No one’s name, address or personal information should be released to the public including DUI’s, small petty crimes, water usage, gun ownership etc. The country has come to a point where it’s lets blame instead of fix. If we are all sitting around pointing fingers, who is fixing the problem?

      • durka

        Once again this is PUBLIC information, not private nor personal! I’m perfectly fine with the publication of this info because residents are simply not grasping the seriousness of the water crisis!

  • T-Bone’s Girl

    Can anyone explain how it is legal for the city to release this personal information? I am completely disgusted that the city did this. I think this is an complete and total invasion of privacy!

    • citizen

      Wow what a bunch of water wasters . Holy crap!!

    • passin_threw

      if we’re lucky they’ll start showing pictures next time around. dang heathens

  • let’s talk waste

    Our local government officials should concentrate on finding new water sources. What happened to purchasing water rights, building new lakes, etc.? Years ago, we had a tax that was issued specifically for finding more water. Where is the new water source? We paid that tax for years. Where’s the new water source? Conserving water won’t get us out of trouble alone. Let’s talk about being wasteful. Ask a local government official/leader if they spend their excess budget money each year or give it back. They’ll tell you they never have excess money. A budget’s purpose is to be right on the money. But as budgets go, 50% of the time it will be a little high (meaning excess) and 50% of the time it will be a little low. Fact is, agencies can’t go over budget without going to the commish and so they almost always spend right at 100% of their budget, but somehow never have excess they give back. How is it they never come in under budget? Why is it they never ask for less money the following year? It is an anomaly to hear of an agency that asked for less money. They don’t want to lose that excess $1,000 out of their budget, so they spend it on a new printer, chair, etc. (The equivalence of 27,000 cubic ft of water qualifying them as a top 1% water waster.) We could have used that money to buy water. Times that by every single local gov’t agency and the final wasteful number is pretty big. Take into consideration multiple budget years and the waste exponentially increases. I saw this waste firsthand from one agency to the tune of $30,000 a year. Year over year over year over year. This annual snowballing government spending problem leads to the gov’t agencies finding new ways to raise more money. Like a user hooked on drugs. They see an opportunity.. Most of the top 1% water wasters on the list have the money so.. ‘why not add one more tax on them?’ They knew public opinion would be on their side because of the sensitivity everyone has on water in the area. Punish those ‘out of control’ water users. I say do it, but give that penalty money to the lowest water users versus putting it in the hands of the out of control gov’t spenders. Can the author of this article write a new one that shows the statistics from each local government office on the last time each agency gave back excess budget money? They don’t do it because they fear their budget will get cut by the amount they didn’t spend. So it turns into an ugly ‘out of control’ spending mess. Don’t be fooled folks, an article like this helps detour from what our local governments are really trying to do, raise more money for everything but finding a long term water solution. Our commissioners are tightening the ropes on these officials so the officials have to find new revenue sources to continue their wasteful spending ways. I think the folks that are trying to single out families should look in a mirror. Especially since they chose to put themselves in a position to solve these problems. The 1% water users list isn’t accurate; it doesn’t include the 1000s of folks that use water from water wells in the area and it doesn’t include major employment shops that are the true 1% water users. But it wouldn’t make any sense to upset the top tax revenue companies in our area. What if they left!

  • MMM

    Seems odd to make public the users of a resource. What about gasoline users, natural gas users, electricity users? These are all resources with limited supplies as well. If the city wants less water usage, then enact some real limitations. This public e-flogging reeks of gov’t intrusion. How about a list of people with multiple tattoos and no money in a child’s college fund? People SHOULD use less water in a drought, but this list shows no crime and gives no context to the numbers (could have been a broken sprinkler line during a week’s vacation, or just wasteful, we don’t know).
    It’s hard to take the water crisis for real when the city won’t act within its own power but instead chooses to embarrass citizens and possibly incite criminal threats or actions.

    • Mrs. Fisher

      I think anyone who uses 135,000 cubic feet of water is criminal. that’s just an amazing amount of waste. I personally think you are irresponsible for wasting water on a ” green lawn ” to make your property look pretty when if you have the money to do that, should be spending that money on green or zero scaping. If someone has a broken sprinkler during a vacation, they were irresponsible for leaving on vacation with out having someone check on their property. While I know many people on this list, it appears that most are living in affluent neighborhoods and watering their lawn like they live on the actual green of the gold course. I think it’s sad that people feel they have to have a green lawn to look good to the neighbors instead of thinking about the condition our city is in. IMHO, we should ban ALL lawn watering. I own my home and live in a nicer neighborhood, I also have a pool. And I am STILL not on this list because I conserve water. I’m sorry you feel called out but maybe you should consider installing turf on your front lawn instead of fescue. It’s just as green or greener and you don’t have to water it. As for people with tattoos and no money in their child’s college fund… remember my friend, they are probably the ones planting your grass and mowing it so my guess is your not paying them enough to start a college fund but just enough to show their disdain for you by tattooing themselves so you are thoroughly appalled when ever they come over to do your yard work!

      • just some guy

        a lot of people barter for their ink, (tattoos) or they know someone with a tattoo gun that does it for a low costs

  • water

    1 cubic foot of water equals 7.48 gallons. The top individual at 135,000 cubic feet used over one million gallons of water!

  • water

    Great how the Hays Daily News recently ran a story on number 2 on the list about all the water saving work he is doing at his business. Why just so he can feel better about how much he is using at his home. How about he just stops using so much at his home!

  • Mixed Up Priorities

    Some of these comments on here sound like that if you are rich, then you are entitled to more water. Does anybody else get that impression? It’s great that there are people who have worked hard and have become well off with their income, but there is currently a water crisis. Watering your grass and filling your swimming pools should be the least of everybody’s concern!!!

    • just some guy

      getting rich, being rich, and staying rich, is a power trip. I cant wait until a HUGE slice of humble pie served with a side of karma is put in front of them

    • hays sucks

      You’re absolutely correct mixed up..these “upstanding citizens” seem to have forgotten they’re living in a freakin desert.!!

  • LOL

    By the looks of this list, it’s possible the majority of these ppl got drunk, as usual, and forgot to turn their water off!

  • dougie

    It is public info. Quit crying about it. They didnt release your SSN.

  • Black Sheep

    Upon further review, some meters feed more than one household.Like Rentals for instance.Divide one of these in (GREEN) buy 3 or 4 buildings or seperate Apartments and all of a sudden it’s not a big deal anymore.8,000 x 4 = 32,000. get the picture.Thanks City of Hays for putting us in the paper without all the facts.I would not expect any less


    If you call the City Clerk’s office you will all find out this is an incorrect listing. A friend of mine has rentals and called and each property was off 20,000 cu ft in the calculation that was listed on this report. Sounds like this was an original listing sent out and errors were found by city staff. This list is not accurate!!!!!!!!

    • just some guy

      oh well that makes everything all ok then

  • What?

    This list is crap. I’m on the list but it is a rental complex, I have all exterior water shut off so the tenants can not use it, I do not water the yard and I’m being judged by everybody who looks at this list. Thanks city of hays and hays post!!! I smell a class action ? I’m sure this list is hurting some businesses and they released the list without letting us know that our water usage was in the top 1% or giving us a chance to make changes to lessen our water usage.