PERRY, Kan. — Flooding continues to cause problems for people and businesses throughout the Midwest. It’s shutting down businesses and running people from their homes.
Anything under the water at Lake Perry that’s broken, like gas lines, can’t be fixed until the water recedes. That’s causing big problems for the marina and a neighborhood right next to the lake.
“It’s a bummer, you know? The boating season is four months long and boaters are losing a good two months the way it’s looking,” said Bryan Best, general manager of the Lake Perry Marina.
Because the water is so high, it’s covering and short-circuiting crucial power supplies feeding the docks.
“Boats lose the capability to charge their batteries,” Best said. “A lot of boats, whether owners want to admit it or not, take on water and then their pumps quit, and then we have sinking boats on top of the flooded atmosphere we are dealing with right now.”
Lake Perry’s water level is at an historic high. It’s so deep, water is covering the wells feeding Lakeside Village, a community of more than 150 homes.
“On an average day this community uses 26,000-30,000 gallons a day,” said Jerry White, president of the Lakeside Village Board of Directors. “The wells are sealed, but we lost power to them, electric power, and we can’t get down there to check them until the lake goes down.”
Lakeside Village has been without water for almost two weeks. So far they’re relying on bottled water for drinking, flushing toilets, doing dishes and bathing.
“Reminds me of when I was in the Army,” White said. “They taught us how to take a bath in a steel helmet.”
As a result of a partnership agreement between Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and the governor of Nebraska, the Nebraska National Guard is in Perry to teach the Kansas National Guard how to use The Hippo, a 2,000 gallon water delivery system.
It’s a piece of equipment Kansas doesn’t have, but it’s now on loan from Nebraska.
“It serves in a wartime mission in order to provide water to the troops on a battle field,” said Sgt. William Kiffin with the Nebraska National Guard. “It is great for the National Guard to have this equipment because any time there is a national disaster, we can bring potable water to any location and use it in multiple different ways”
Without potable water, residents are at risk for bacteria and microbes that cause dysentery and other serious diseases.
It could be mid-July or the beginning of August until the water is low enough for the wells to be fixed and boaters to fully enjoy the recreation of Lake Perry.