By NICK BUDD
The Hays City Commission on Thursday passed a series of updates to the city’s water conservation/drought response plan. The updates require private wells to comply with regulations in the water warning and emergency stages, prevents the city from issuing any new seeded/sodded lawn permits during a warning stage, incorporates a second conservation tier rate in warning and emergency stages, and gives the city commission additional authority over water rates.
According to Hays City Manager Toby Dougherty, each time the city declares a water warning or emergency, the commission can petition to order private wells within the city limits of Hays to comply with the regulations outlined in the drought response plan, but the regulations are flexible.
“Once the city goes off of either of those stages, the ability to require private well compliance goes away,” he said. “If we are in a drought, the chief engineer can grant us the ability to require compliance, and then it might be 15 years before you require compliance again. Each time, (the city) would have to repetition to go back into the compliance stage”
The new regulations on lawn permits update regulations adopted last year.
“The city staff used to issue newly seeded permits to people that wanted to put bluegrass in the middle of August or July, and we don’t do that anymore,.” Dougherty said. “That being said, If we are in a warning stage it’s probably not a good idea to establish buffalo or Bermuda grasses in the middle of summer, because that’s when you need to establish those grasses, so that’s why we are recommending not issuing those permits.”
Dougherty also noted that power to increase rates during a water emergency were put in to try to decrease water usage during an emergency.
The motions passed through the commission unanimously.