TOPEKA – A legal order issued by the State of Kansas bans, from noon to 7 p.m. daily, the watering of lawns and other outside vegetation with water from private wells located within the Intensive Groundwater Use Control Area (IGUCA) in and around the city of Hays.
According to the order, “…the use of water wells within the boundaries of the IGUCA in Hays, Kansas, and the immediate area, to water lawns, gardens, trees, shrubs and other similar outdoor vegetation during the hours of 12:00 noon through 7:00 p.m. daily from June 1, 2013, through September 30, 2013, is hereby banned.” The order was signed April 1, 2013, by David W. Barfield, Chief Engineer of the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Water Resources.
The order affects the IGUCA in the city of Hays and its immediate vicinity. The control area was established by the Division of Water Resources in 1985 at the request of the City to help implement water conservation measures by providing a mechanism to address preventable waste of water by privately-owned wells. In the IGUCA order, the Chief Engineer reserved the right to restrict outdoor watering within the area if information showed well users were not voluntarily avoiding watering of lawns and other outside vegetation during times of high temperatures, strong winds and solar radiation, all of which contribute to preventable waste of water.
The IGUCA order requires owners of private wells to register wells with the Division of Water Resources. Owners of private wells, whether or not they have complied with the registration requirement, are subject to the restrictions imposed by the Water Conservation Plan adopted by the City of Hays. Currently, the City prohibits the following: washing sidewalks, parking lots and driveways; allowing loss of water through leaks in plumbing systems or by runoff onto sidewalks or into street guttering from watering yards; and, the watering of lawns between noon and 7 p.m.
In addition to the restrictions imposed by this order, private well owners continue to be subject to the regulations imposed on all water users under state law.