Residents and businesses in Hays face the effects of ongoing drought. While conservation plans have held the community’s water use steady for 30 years — even as population has increased by 40 percent — leaders knew more action was needed.
With the city's primary water supply coming into town from 12 miles south, leaders knew they’d need to look even farther for a solution. That’s why they co-own water rights at the R9 Ranch, a 6,400-acre agricultural irrigation property more than 75 miles away, in Edwards County.
Burns & McDonnell evaluated the site for use as a viable and sustainable water supply, using water available from underground and aboveground resources. The water is forecast to meet the needs of Hays and nearby Russell for 50 to 100 years.
Plans call for 75 miles of 16- to 18-inch pipeline, the longest municipal water line in Kansas, plus three booster pump stations, a high-service pump station, 10 to 20 new wells, collection pipeline and storage tanks. Services include alignment concepts, hydraulic analysis, water rights consulting and groundwater modeling.