On June 13, 2018, a petition for judicial review of the GMD 4 District-wide Local Enhanced Management Area (LEMA) orders was filed in Gove County District Court along with a notice disputing the validity of K.S.A. 82a-1041 (the LEMA statutory provisions). The case has now been fully briefed by the parties and is awaiting a decision by the Court. Copies of the briefs are available on KDA’s web site in the table titled Friesen vs. Barfield at: https://www.agriculture.ks.gov/GMD4LEMA.
The Sheridan 6 Local Enhanced Management Area (LEMA) is the state’s longest existing LEMA, initially approved for the 5-year period 2013-2017, and subsequently approved for the period 2018-2022. Two recent studies on the LEMA have been added to KDA-DWR web page devoted to the LEMA at: www.agriculture.ks.gov/SD6LEMA.
Dr. Golden of KSU issued his final report, “Monitoring the Impacts of Sheridan County 6 Local Enhanced Management Area,” dated 11/15/2018. The study found the irrigated area within the LEMA was largely unchanged despite the significantly reduced wateruse with some changes in cropping, although corn is still dominate. The study included voluntary reporting on farm income with a limited number of responses. The responses received indicate irrigation operations remain as profitable as before, apparently due to reduced input costs. Dr. Golden also cites that the fact that the producers asked for the LEMA to be extended as evidence of continued profitability.
A group of Michigan State researchers along with KU’s Jim Bulter, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, had their research report titled “Quantifying irrigation adaptation strategies in response to stakeholder-driven groundwater management in the US High Plains Aquifer” published last month in Environmental Research Letters. Below are a few quotes from the paper’s abstract:
- Socio-ecological systems research suggests that management of common pool resources like groundwater would benefit from localized approaches that combine self-organization along with active monitoring.
- Here, we assessed the efficacy of the first LEMA implemented from 2013 to 2017 using a causal impact methodology based on Bayesian structural time series that is new to agrohydrology.
- Compared to control scenarios, we found that the LEMA reduced water use by 31% over the five-year period, with early indications of stabilizing groundwater levels.
- We found that farmers were able to largely maintain irrigated area and achieved the majority of pumping reductions (72%) from improvements in irrigation efficiency, followed by expansion of crops with lower water demand (19%).
- The results of this analysis demonstrate that conservation programs that are irrigator driven with regulatory oversight can provide a path toward sustainability in stressed aquifers.
The 46th annual meeting of the Kansas–Nebraska Big Blue River Compact Administration will be held in room 124 at the Kansas Department of Agriculture, 1320 Research Park Drive in Manhattan, on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. Anyone interested in water-related activities within the Big Blue and Little Blue River Basins in Kansas and Nebraska is encouraged to attend.
The Kansas–Nebraska Big Blue River Compact was entered into in 1971. The purpose of the compact is to promote interstate comity, to achieve equitable apportionment of the waters of the Big Blue River Basin and promote the orderly development thereof, and to encourage an active pollution abatement program in each state.
The Compact Administration is composed of a federally appointed Compact Chairman, currently W. Don Nelson of Lincoln, Nebraska; two state appointed representatives: David Barfield of the Kansas Department of Agriculture–Division of Water Resources and Gordon “Jeff” Fassett of th Nebraska Department of Natural Resources; and two citizen representatives: Sharon Schwartz of Washington, Kansas, and Larry Moore of Aurora, Nebraska.
Questions about the meeting can be addressed to Chris Beightel, program manager for water management services at KDA–DWR, at 785-564-6670 or Chris.Beightel@kda.ks.gov. Additional information about the Big Blue River Compact and the annual meeting can be found on the KDA website at agriculture.ks.gov/big-blue-compact.
Following the Chief Engineer’s March 28, 2019 contingent approvals of water right change applications submitted by the cities of Hays and Russell to convert the irrigation rights of the R9 Ranch in Edwards County to municipal use for the cities, six requests for administrative review were received by Secretary of Agriculture Michael Beam within the time allowed.
On April 24 and April 29, Secretary Beam declined administrative review for all six requests for review of the chief engineer’s order. Those seeking administrative review have 30 days to request judicial review. If none is received, the water transfer process will begin.
Copies of the requests, the Secretary’s orders, and more are on DWR’s website at: www.agriculture.ks.gov/HaysR9
On May 1, 2019 Hearing Officer Connie Owen issued an order directing that oral arguments on the eight remaining motions by the parties will be heard May 28, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at the Harvey County Courthouse in Newton. Details on the who the parties are and the motions that will be argued are laid out in the order.
The evidentiary hearing on the merits of Wichita’s proposed changes to its Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) project issues has not yet been set pending securing the location, but it appears likely that the dates will be in late September 2019.
KDA-DWR continues to update our Wichita ASR page with information regarding the City of Wichita’s proposal, background information, and the information related to the current hearing process.