On Friday, September 20, 2019, Chief Engineer David Barfield replied to a letter from 10 agricultural and related organizations asking him to delay his plans to issue administrative orders related to Quivira for 2020 this fall as a first step in resolving the impairment. In his letter, he explained why he is moving ahead with the administrative orders, outlined steps being taken to provide water users with significant flexibility to use the allocations provided in the orders, and announced his decision to phase in orders over three years.
The administrative orders will implement the first part of a three-part solution to the Quivira impairment consisting of: 1) limiting withdrawals across the basin to slow the ongoing growth of stream depletions, 2) the retirement or relocation of 4,400 acre-feet of use from the highest impact area near the stream to slow the growth of depletions in the shorter term, and 3) an augmentation project proposed by GMD 5. The second and third parts of the solution need to be developed by the basin over the next three years.
The letter announced a significant change in the Chief Engineer’s plan for the administrative orders, namely to phase in the orders over three years beginning in 2020 with junior water rights in Zone C (the area with a greater than 30% impact to the stream), then Zone B (greater than 20% impact) in 2021, and finally Zone A (greater than 10% impact) in 2022. See map attached to his letter.
KDA-DWR is working with local stakeholders to develop a Water Conservation Area (WCA) to allow for annual allocations in the orders to be pooled into multi-year allocations, moved between water rights, and with limited restrictions, transferred between water right owners enrolled in the WCA.
Notice of the specific allocations for each water right under the water administration plan will be provided to all water right owners and water use correspondence in the near future, with a public meeting in the effected within two weeks of the notices.
The Chief Engineer’s letter and a map showing the implementation areas is available https://www.agriculture.ks.gov/Quivira.