Albert Rukwaro
Special to The Gardner News
Gardner city council declared a stage one water watch for the city after the city’s treatment plant operated above 83 percent capacity on five occasions.
The special meeting was originally called with an agenda only for an executive (closed) session, and the water concern was added at a later time.
By adopting the water resolution, the council empowers city employees to inform the public about the shortage and ask residents to voluntarily reduce water consumption. The resolution was adopted at a June 17 meeting.
Gonzalo Garcia, utilities director,  told the council that the city’s revised water conservation plan addresses short term water shortage through a series of stages based on conditions of supply and demand with accompanying triggers, goals and actions.
Since June 14 the water demand has gone above the water watch trigger point in five occasions” said Garcia adding that staff will continue to monitor the water use and will bring back recommendations to the governing body as needed.
A water watch ordinance is triggered by one of several conditions including Hillsdale treatment plant water level, then declaration of severe drought conditions in Johnson, Miami, Douglas or Franklin counties and the declaration of stage one water watch by the Kansas Water Office.
The other stages specified in the plan are water warning and water emergency.
– Water your lawn on the following schedule: Customers north of Main Street should irrigate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; customers south of Main Street should irrigate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Gardner issued water conservation suggestions, including:
– Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. A garden hose can pour out 600 gallons of water or more in only a few hours.
– Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways, steps and sidewalks.
– Repair all leaks. Dripping faucets, for example, might be small leaks but can, over time, use a large amount of water. Leaks inside the toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day.
– Turn off the water while brushing teeth and shaving.
– Only run the dishwasher when it is fully loaded.
– Set your clothes washing machine to the proper water level for the size of the load.
Gardner officials released the following statement on social media: “The City of Gardner has issued a Water Watch for all water customers, effective immediately. Due to high temperatures, the lack of rain, and a higher than average rate of water usage, the City of Gardner has experienced increased demand and strain on its water system. If not addressed, this strain could limit the supply of water for essential needs, such as human consumption, sanitation and fire protection. During this water watch, the city asks all customers to practice indoor and outdoor water conservation.”
Garcia said the water watch resolution will not affect bulk water sales to residents of surrounding unincorporated areas.
During the meeting, the council entered into a thirty minute executive session to discuss matters of attorney-client privilege. No statement was made following the session.