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Kansas Legislature considers groundwater conservation measures

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February 29, 2012

Kansas

TOPEKA, Kansas: Following a year with little rain, Kansas' groundwater levels have declined greatly. As a result, the Kansas Legislature is considering measures to slow the decline. The measures are as follows.[1]

  • Drop “Use it or Lose It.": "This bill would eliminate a provision in the law that mandates that water-right owners use a certain amount of water or give up the water right." With the current provision, there is a concern that people are running their wells more than they need to so they can keep their claim to the water right.[1]
  • Local Enhanced Management Area plans: "This measure would allow local governing bodies to develop agreements that could be approved by the state’s chief engineer that would then have the force of law." This would allow local solutions to problems, rather than force involuntary action by locals.[1]
  • Multiyear flex accounts for water use. "These accounts would allow users to depend on a five-year average." This would allow water rights holders to use more water when they need to, say during a drought, and would allow them to make up for it by using less water the following year.[1]

Officials hope these new measures will hope preserve the diminishing supply of groundwater in the state.[1]

References

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