Archive for Wednesday, November 15, 2000

Communities exploring water cooperative

November 15, 2000

The subject of DeSotos interest in the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plants water treatment facility was discussed at least four times during Johnson County hearings on Oz Entertainment Co.s redevelopment plan for the mothballed plant.

During those discussions, it was stated that a consortium of area cities and rural water districts might be interested in purchasing water produced at the Sunflower water treatment plant.

The consortium is a definite possibility, but it is far too early to predict if that cooperative would have an interest in buying water from a DeSoto-owned Sunflower water plant.

Mark Crumbaker, manager of Johnson County Rural Water District No. 6, said a number of cities and water districts in Johnson, Douglas, Franklin and Miami counties are considering creating a wholesale water district. In fact, the entities are about to undertake a feasibility study concerning the creation of the so-called Quad County Water Cooperative, he said.

The study would look at the long-term water resources and needs of cooperatives members, Crumbaker said. It is an effort in regional planning that is encouraged by state and federal agencies, he said.

The feasibility study might identify the Sunflower water plant as a possible water source, but he said that is only one possibility.

"There is a potential we could buy from a supplier," he said. "But again, the study is wide open. There is no telling where it might lead."

The study might suggest the building of new production facilities to serve the cooperative, Crumbaker said.

Also, the study will explore long-term water needs after 2010, Crumbaker said. So, the cooperative wouldnt appear to offer the city an immediate customer for Sunflower-produced water.

Perhaps, but DeSoto City Administrator Gerald Cooper predicted the feasibility study will identify the Kansas River as the cooperatives best water resource.

The cooperative is also helping its communities in the short term by linking those with water demands with those with excess production, Crumbaker said. Joint planning will allow for more cooperation in the future as more water distribution systems are installed, he said.

Crumbaker suggested a cooperative effort could offer DeSoto a short-term solution to its water needs.

Water District No. 6 currently has contractual access to more water than it needs from the Olathe water plant east of DeSoto. The water district and citys distribution lines are connected, Crumbaker said, so it would be possible for the district to sell its excess supply to DeSoto.

Cooper said he thinks the city should explore cooperative efforts with Water District No. 6 and Johnson County Water District No. 1.

Although the city took part in the early discussions that led to the exploration of forming a cooperative, the city is not a member, Cooper said. The city felt it had nothing to offer, he said, and the meetings conflicted with the city councils meeting schedule.

Still, Cooper said the wholesale water district was "a good concept" and said DeSoto might eventually join the effort.

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