Big Blue River Compact Meeting to Be Held May 15, 2019

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.

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Secretary Beam Declines Review of the Hays Russell Contingent Change Approvals

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

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Wichita ASR Prehearing Order Issued

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.

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