TOPEKA, Kan. - Thursday Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D- Kan.) announced a $9.8 million grant for water conservation and water use efficiency projects in portions of the Upper Arkansas River Basin.
“I’m thankful for the efforts of state and local partners in working through past litigation issues and securing this funding for new water projects,” Sebelius said. “Water is one of our most precious natural resources and its protection, conservation and careful distribution is critical to our shared future.”
Legislation passed in 2008 provides the framework for the grant to Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District (GMD) No. 3 including the creation of a local advisory committee which will play a significant role in the administration of the funds and the implementation of projects already under development.
“I am confident that GMD No. 3 will insure the local interests are well served as these and other potential projects are implemented,” said Tracy Streeter, Director of the Kansas Water Office. “The local advisory committee input along with a continued commitment from the State of Kansas will provide the greatest opportunity to conserve and efficiently utilize the Arkansas River water resources.”
Over the past two years the Water Office, Kansas Department of Agriculture-Division of Water Resources, the GMD, and ditch irrigation entities have worked together to identify several projects aimed at improving the delivery of compact water; increasing the efficiency of existing irrigation infrastructure; enhancing storage capacity to utilize excess river flows; and creating opportunities for aquifer recharge. Previously funded feasibility studies have identified potential projects in Finney and Kearny counties.
This grant uses monetary damages received from litigation with the State of Colorado stemming from violations of the Arkansas River Compact.