Water Conservation Specialist speaks to City Commission

By ALICIA FEYERHERM

Tiger Media Network

Water Conservation Specialist for the City of Hays, Holly Dickman, presented to the city commission on Thursday regarding the work of the water conservation department.

Dickman started by reviewing the state drought map. This time last year, parts of the state were in the “extreme drought” category, whereas this year, only parts of the state are “abnormally dry”

Next, Dickman went through the city’s rebate programs. In 2023, 176 toilets were replaced with low-flow toilets, saving approximately 1.3 million gallons of water and 96 washing machines were replaced, saving approximately 797,798 gallons of water.

Last year, the city started two new rebate programs: one for smart irrigation controllers and one for rain sensor irrigation shut-off. No one used those rebate programs.

“We will keep promoting it and hopefully we’ll get some traction,” Dickman said. 

Of all the rebates, Dickman said the turf conversions were the “big winner.”  In 2022, nine rebates for turf conversion were awarded, but in 2023, that number jumped to 23. The average rebate for turf conversion was $1470.60.

The city also gave out 216 free water-efficient showerheads last year. 

The water conservation website was redesigned this year. 

World Water Day Fun Fest was hosted at the Sternberg which was covered by HaysPost and KWCH. 

The annual Water Poster Contest had a record number of posters submitted, with 629 entries. In 2022, there were 337 entries. 

“We were a little overwhelmed, but it was a great problem to have,” Dickman said. 

The department also promoted water conservation through sponsorships of a Hays Larks game in the summer and an FHSU football game in the fall. 

The “Welcome Home Buckets” program continued in 2023. Each new resident of Hays receives a bucket with water conservation information. 

Other items discussed at the meeting: 

  • Approved Letter of Support for SkyWest Essential Air Service at Hays Regional Airport
  • Awarded a bid for a solid waste baler and conveyor
  • Approved Engineering Service Agreement for development of The Grove
  • Approved a resolution adopting an amended Neighborhood Revitalization Plan. 

The next city commission meeting will be 4 p.m. on  March 14 at City Hall.

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