Archive for Thursday, June 8, 2006

De Soto, Eudora to discuss water

June 8, 2006

De Soto city officials will sit down Friday with their counterparts from Eudora to discuss the neighboring city's water needs.

The discussion comes as De Soto is studying options for its future water needs. The process started last month with a Burns & McDonnell report looking at five possible sources.

Four options studied in the report had De Soto producing its own water and a fifth looked at the cost of purchasing wholesale water from the city of Olathe.

The costs of the solutions should make De Soto officials open to any discussions. It would cost De Soto a minimum of $8.4 million to build a new water plant or renovate its current plant at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, which the study recommends the city abandon.

Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said her city, which is currently adding about 100 new homes a year, were looking at its options about how best to provide for future growth. The city's problem wasn't the production capacity of its water plant but water rights that limit it to one more well in its Kansas River well field.

Beatty said Eudora officials was looking at a broad range of options, which include the simple purchase of water rights, buying water from De Soto or partnering with De Soto in the production of water.

Overall, the approach to De Soto was Eudora's attempt to find a less-expensive regional alternative to its future water needs, Beatty said.

"Eudora can't go it alone," she said. "We're going to have to think out of the box."

Beatty noted De Soto's study indicated its least expensive option would be to purchase water from Olathe. Eudora could also consider such an arrangement, she said.

De Soto officials have also had talks with another neighbor, Johnson County Rural Water District No. 6. The water study assumes the city will serve or provide water to its future growth areas to the south and west currently, which are in the water district.

Mark Crumbaker of the water district said water district officials have expressed a willingness to work with the city.

City officials were aware there was no assurance the city would be the future provider of the growth area, Crumbaker said. On the other hand, it was conceivable the water district would relinquish part of its territory to the city.

"We're in the process of calculating that," he said. "If we find we can't handle it, we'll work with the city. The whole point is who is best able to serve the area.

"It's conceivable we'll work out changes in our boundaries that make sense to everybody."

But Crumbaker said De Soto's water discussions were still preliminary and the west-side growth that would guide such decisions was still to come.

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