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City Officials Say Water Release Went Well

Water DropBy all indications from City of Russell officials, the recent release of water from Cedar Bluff Reservoir to benefit Russell's Pfiefer well field near the Smoky Hill River went well and should improve the condition of all the wells in that field.

Russell Public Works Director Arlyn Unrein says the Russell City Council made the decision to call for the release last week after the City of Hays conducted a release of their own just three weeks ago. Unrein says because of the river bed already being wetted down from that release, Russell's release water traveled much farther and much more of it will soak in to the ground above the Pfiefer wells.

"Every Monday we go out and measure what the water level is in the wells," Unrein said Thursday. "We did that this Monday before any water got here and now we'll do it again next Monday (March 25). I think you're going to see a dramatic increase of the level of the water in the wells."

Unrein said to expect an update on the condition of the wells early next week after he gets the water level measurements on Monday, March 25. 

Just a little more than 1,200 acre-feet, or 400 million gallons, of water was released in this request. Through Russell-owned water rights to Cedar Bluff, 2,000 acre-feet of the lake's water is allotted to the city annually.

No word has been given yet to how much this release dropped the level of the lake itself. Also, Unrein said it is much too early to ask whether or not this release will allow Russell to downgrade its water restrictions in the coming months, saying that decision will be completely up to the City Council and will depend a lot on the condition of Big Creek, another water source for the city, and the continued severity of the drought.

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