With record low levels in Missouri River, water conservation now mandatory in Atchison

Live at Five
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 7:11 AM CST
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ATCHISON, Kan. (WIBW) - With record-low levels in the Missouri River, water conservation efforts are now mandatory for Atchison-area residents.

According to KAIR Radio, the call for voluntary water conservation for city of Atchison water customers became mandatory on Tuesday.

A release from the city of Atchison says mandatory water conservation measures are being implemented because of record-low levels in the Missouri River.

The low levels have limited the city’s ability “to draw a sufficient amount of water to meet the normal demand from domestic, commercial, industrial, and agricultural customers,” the release said.

Among the customers affected are those in Atchison County Rural Water District 1.

The release explains that the city “is requiring all industrial and agricultural customers to limit the use of water to only what is necessary to maintain the health and personal hygiene of employees on duty,” while commercial and business customers, including restaurants and stores, are required “to limit the use of water to what is necessary to conduct normal operations including what is necessary to maintain the health and hygiene of employees and customers.”

Meanwhile, all residential households are being required “to limit use of water to what is necessary to maintain health and hygiene.”

The city said cooking, bathing and doing laundry are acceptable uses of water.

The release also stated that “medical facilities are not being required to limit water usage but are encouraged to conserve water where possible and safe to do so.”

On Tuesday, the city of Atchison said the Missouri River level is expected to stay at record-low levels for two to three days as a second ice jam makes its way downstream from Nebraska.

KAIR reports that the primary intake at the present time can’t pump any water because of the river level, so the city is utilizing an auxiliary pump which doesn’t have the capacity to move as much water as the primary intake.

The release called this “a critical time because any complication ... can have a tremendous impact” on the city’s “ability to supply and store water at this reduced capacity.”

Forecasts show that “normal low” river levels will resume by the middle of next week, allowing the city to switch back fully to the primary intake and lift the water conservation measures.