City to consider summer water purchase
The DeSoto City Council has agreed to discuss purchasing water as it seeks a solution to an expected water shortage this summer.
At last Thurday's council meeting, Mark Crumbaker of Johnson County Rural Water District No. 6 offered the city the water district's help in meeting its short-term water needs. The water district has a contract with Olathe to purchase more water than it currently needs, he said.
"We would offer it at our cost plus transportation costs," he said. "I know there have been strains and problems in the past, but I would urge you to at least consider our offer. There are no strings attached.
"We're not in the business of selling water, and we don't want to be. This in only a short-term solution."
Crumbaker told the Explorer last month the water district could provide the water for $1.85 per 1,000 gallons the price the district pays Olathe for water plus a transportation cost of about 25 cents, Crumbaker said.
The water district and city's line already connect from the days when the water district purchased water from the city. Crumbaker said it would be relatively easy to make the engineering changes needed to reverse that flow.
Councilman John Taylor was skeptical of the water from Olathe would be there when needed. The city would only want to purchase water during drought, and he doubted Olathe would have the reserve water for DeSoto during those peak-demand periods. Crumbaker admitted that was one of the issues that would have to be reviewed.
Still, the majority of the council was interested in exploring the offer. It was agreed the city council would schedule a special meeting to discuss the alternative. As of Wednesday, that meeting has not been scheduled.
City Engineer Mike Brungardt told the council the city's other short-term water supply solution was going to be more expensive than he first thought. That solution would install a temporary aboveground line from Clearview City, which is supplied by the water treatment plant at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant the city leases, to the city's nearest distribution line at the Countryside Learning Center.
Brungardt had thought the city could use irrigation pipe for the line. He discovered irrigation pipe wouldn't withstand the needed water pressure.
It would cost about $45,000 to install the needed quality of pipe above ground, Brungardt said. The city engineer estimated it would cost another $48,000 install the line underground. The advantage of the higher quality pipe is that it could remain in service on a permanent basis, he said.
A desire to cooperate with the city of Bonner Springs played a part in the council's decision to delay action on an agreement to annex the nine-hole golf course Bob Hill has developed.
Council members Brad Seaman and Linda Zindler agreed the annexation should wait until the city has updated its comprehensive plan to include the area north of the river. They also wanted the city to discuss the annexation with the city of Bonner Spring, which also has designs on the area.
When the annexation was first brought to the council March 1, it was tabled after Councilman Tim Maniez questioned the city's responsibility of maintaining the Kansas River bridge should DeSoto annex north of the river.
City Attorney Patrick Reavey told the council last Thursday that existing agreements make Johnson and Leavenworth counties responsible for the bridge's maintenance. But, he said Johnson County would like the city to help with the maintenance and asked that the annexation agreement be tabled for 30 days.