The City of Wichita began implementation of the Integrated Local Water Supply Plan (ILWSP) in 1993, and has been improving existing water supplies through infrastructure upgrades and outcome based management of water resources.
As a result, the Equus Beds Aquifer has recovered to near-full conditions.
Recovery of recharged water from Wichita’s Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) project is an important part of the City’s plan for future drought conditions. Under current permit conditions, Wichita cannot recover these resources if the aquifer is depleted beyond levels observed in 1993. In that year, water levels in the Wichita wellfield area were at 88% of natural conditions. The City has confirmed that during prolonged drought, permitted water use will cause groundwater level elevations to drop below the current minimum water level restriction, preventing the withdrawal of ASR credits when they are needed most.
The City has developed a revised minimum water level for recovery of recharge credits throughout periods of long-term drought.
The City has requested the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Chief Engineer accept the proposed revision, and incorporate the change in a new ASR operations permit.