Heavy rains to the north fill Arkansas River and aquifer

Most of Kansas is still in a drought, even with the recent rains. Thanks to some heavy downpours over the holiday weekend north of Wichita. City leaders are storing water in massive amounts for the future.

Cottonwood River chemical spill (courtesy KVOE)

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WICHITA, Kan. -- Joann Ryan rides her bike through downtown several times a week. She says seeing the river this high is a good thing.

"The hotels where people come from other parts of the country get a good view of the river and not sandbars," said Ryan.

Wichita can thank rainfall from McPherson, Marion and Rice counties. Over the weekend the area got between 4.4 and 5.8 inches inches of rain. It's finally made it here.
"We actually take advantage and pull water out of the Little Arkansas and treat it," said Wichita Public Works Director Alan King. "We put it into wells, to store it for later use during a drought."

The city is storing thousands of gallons of water in the Ogalala Aquifer. It's the underground water pool that has been slowly shrinking because of hot and dry weather over the years.

"It's an important part of our water resource plan," said King. "Being able to resist drought and meet demands of the future is something we used in our last drought we had."

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