Garden City Company Water Conservation Area (GCC 2018 WCA) Approved by Chief Engineer

On July 22nd, Chief Engineer David Barfield approved a significant expansion to the existing Water Conservation Area (WCA) for the Garden City Company (GCC 2017 WCA, originally 7,170 acres).  This expansion will add an additional 15,580 acres to the new WCA. The two Garden City Company WCAs are the largest in the state with roughly 22,749 total acres combined and is planned to save approximately 2,900 acre-feet per year or a total of 14,720 acre-feet of water over the 5-year WCA terms of both WCAs.

A Water Conservation Area (WCA) is a simple, streamlined and flexible tool that allows any water right owner or group of owners the opportunity to develop a management plan to reduce withdrawals in an effort to extend the usable life of the Ogallala-High Plains Aquifer. WCA’s across the state are enrolled in about 80,827 acres and are saving 16,043 acre-feet (AF) per calendar year. Upon approval of The Garden City Company WCA, Finney/Kearny Counties are enrolled in about 47,000 acres and saving 10,868 acre-feet per calendar year.

For more information about WCA’s and how they can help you, please visit https://agriculture.ks.gov/divisions-programs/dwr/managing-kansas-water-resources/wca.

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Kansas–Oklahoma Arkansas River Commission Meeting July 25

The 55th annual meeting of the Kansas–Oklahoma Arkansas River Commission will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn, 205 SW Frank Phillips Blvd, Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on Thursday, July 25, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. Optional tours of regional interest will be available on Wednesday, July 24. Anyone interested in water-related activities within the Arkansas River Basin in Kansas and Oklahoma is encouraged to attend.

Kansas and Oklahoma entered the Arkansas River Compact in 1965. The purpose of the compact is to promote interstate comity, to equitably divide and promote the orderly development of the waters of the Lower Arkansas River Basin, to provide an agency for administering the waters of the basin, and to encourage an active pollution abatement program in each state.

The Commission is composed of three commissioners appointed by the governor of Kansas, three commissioners appointed by the governor of Oklahoma, and two commissioners appointed by the President of the United States.

Questions about the meeting, lodging options, and optional tours can be addressed to Chris Beightel, program manager for water management services at Kansas Department of Agriculture–Division of Water Resources, at 785-564-6659 or Chris.Beightel@ks.gov. Additional information about the Kansas–Oklahoma Arkansas River Compact and the annual meeting can be found on the KDA website at www.agriculture.ks.gov/KOARC.

WHO:            Open to the public

WHAT:          Annual meeting of the Kansas–Oklahoma Arkansas River Commission

WHEN:          Thursday, July 25, 2019, at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE:       Hilton Garden Inn, 205 SW Frank Phillips Blvd, Bartlesville, Oklahoma

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GMD 4 Manager, Ray Luhman, retires after 40 years of service

On June 28, 2019, Ray Luhman retired as manager of the Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4. Ray had worked for GMD 4 for 40 years, joining as assistant manager in 1979, and serving as manager since 2015. Ray has been a large part of the service provided by the District to its water users and a strong and effective advocate for the sensible water management of the District.  In his years as manager, Ray led his district through the process of establishing the first, and thus far only, groundwater management district-wide local enhanced management areas (LEMA) in the state.

The success of GMD 4’s two LEMAs was greatly attributed to the water users’ trust in Ray. Visit the GMD 4 LEMA website or go directly to GMD 4‘s website to learn more.

Congratulations and best wishes to Ray.

Photo by Jeff Tuttle/The Journal (Kansas Leadership Center)

 

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Municipal Water Use in Kansas, 2017 published

KDA-DWR in cooperation with the USGS has published the 2017 version of the annual Municipal Water Use in Kansas report. This summary report includes gallons per capita per day and unaccounted for water calculations by public supplier and regional areas for the state. The document can be accessed at the bottom of the page here: www.agriculture.ks.gov/WaterUse

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Judicial Review of GMD 4’s district-wide LEMA fully briefed

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.

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Recent Studies provide more evidence on Sheridan 6 LEMA success

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.

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