KANSAS AQUEDUCT COALITION
     

Kansas Aqueduct Coalition
317 Missouri Ave
PO BOX 66
Alma, Kansas 66401

(785) 765-2404 phone   
(785) 371-4966 fax

http://www.kansasaqueductcoalition.com

Mission:

Kansans must act to secure and develop the unused and undervalued waters of the state for the benefit of the present and future people of Kansas.

 

Vision:

The availability and demand for clean water around the world will be at disparate odds with ever increasing frequency.

This nexus of water is moving from the American West to the Midwestern states as increasing demand, drought and climate shifts affect traditional supplies and the value of clean water increases.

With greater frequency, the ways in which we source, distribute, process and appropriate water are being revisited, re-thought and refined at all levels of private and public interests.

This work for Kansas requires vision, leadership, collaboration and innovation at each discussion.

Addressing this societal issue presents significant opportunity, risk and reward.

Not addressing the problems represent inevitable cost and significantly more risk.

Looking at overall external risk, while still addressing internal efficiencies and operations, is critical in reducing potential impacts to Kansas business and service that the natural resource provides.

Water risks for Kansas can be reduced and service enhancements realized through a combination of strong leadership, watershed analyses, collective action and community engagement, a global business strategy, alliances and partnerships.

     


December 13, 2013

POSITION STATEMENT
OF
THE KANSAS AQUDUCT COALITION

KANSAS AQUEDUCT PROJECT

A Kansas Water Management Proposal

The Kansas Aqueduct Coalition would like to offer support for the Groundwater Management District’s #3 request for legislative action regarding the Kansas Aqueduct Project.  The Kansas Aqueduct Coalition represents water interests all across the state.

ISSUE:

1.       The Governor has called for a 50 year visioning for Kansas water;

2.       In half of that 50 year time, the world will have an additional billion people to feed; the likely source of that food with the least environmental degradation will be from intensified irrigation agriculture in existing semi-arid agricultural areas of politically and socially stable areas including western Kansas (excerpt from the Governor’s Water Conference October 2013 presentation);

3.       Present annual value to Kansas above dryland values for each irrigated acre is over $3,900.00 (KDA report to the Governor’s Economic Advisory Council);

4.       Each year in southwest Kansas 1.5 million acres are irrigated with more than 2 million acre feet of groundwater which is only 9% sustainable computer modeling has shown;

5.       Significant declines in the Ogallala Aquifer are causing economic value declines in Kansas every year;

6.       Water security is population security;

7.       Kansas needs to act to secure and protect its unused water supplies now;

8.       Kansas needs a careful and intentional cost to benefit evaluation process for the Kansas Aqueduct Project as an absolute necessity to grow the future of Kansas to ensure that Kansas, specifically western Kansas continues to have the advantage in supplying the global food market;

9.       Many other possible opportunities exist for the Project to provide water, energy, recreation, tourism and other benefits across Kansas for the 50 year vision.

PROBLEM:

We must take action NOW to create water supply security in the regions of Kansas where the most opportunities exist to capitalize on the global marketplace, thus ensuring that Kansas continues to be a top exporter of beef, grains and dairy products.

SOLUTION:

  1. Immediate Legislative Action: Under Kansas water law, waters of the state that may be in the Missouri River are open for new appropriations and Kansas is a Prior Appropriation Doctrine state (“first in time is first in right”). The Kansas Legislature should immediately act on a date certain to reserve for 10 years an annual quantity of 4 million acre feet of the high flows of the waters of Kansas in the Missouri River for the Kansas Aqueduct Project development. Maintaining a requirement to file an application by any person with an unworkable filing fee would effectively splinter the Kansas-wide interests in the Project evaluations, should that policy requirement remain unchanged. However, the date of such Kansas action is considered very important as future actions outside of Kansas could rob the state of its opportunity and authority over water within Kansas. This reservation is likened to the Water Reservation Rights provision for Kansas water in federal reservoir storage.

  2. Alternative Immediate Legislative Action: Under present state statute, the prescribed filing fee for an application to appropriate 4 million acre feet from the waters of Kansas is about $900,000.00. If the above reservation cannot occur, then the legislature should, at a minimum, consider placing a special filing fee provision for a Kansas Aqueduct Project in K.S.A. 82a-708a as a starter filing fee and a pay-as-you-go commitment by the applicant up to the $900,000.00 to allow for the filing fees without the likely threat of a budgetary sweep into the state general fund.

  3. Additional Necessary Legislative Action: As a Kansas-wide project evaluation, there is no suitable institutional entity to form a district of aqueduct authority across the state, similar to water supply districts or the old Turnpike Authority. The legislature should consider providing a provision for the formation of a Kansas Aqueduct Authority to assure the project activities occur as a state-wide, locally led effort rather than as a politically driven, activity influenced effort by one area of Kansas or another or even beyond Kansas borders. This Authority would ease pressure on the legislature and state agencies.

SUMMARY:

It is the belief of this organization that a properly developed Kansas Aqueduct Project process is a necessary element in securing economic stability and prosperity for the entire state of Kansas.  An action to reserve a 4 million acre feet amount early in that process rather than a person or Coalition filing an appropriation is an appropriate and necessary legislative action for Kansas.  The revenues generated from agriculture in the western half of the state, and specifically in the areas served by the Ogallala Aquifer, are significant.  A significant decline or decimation of those revenues would likely result in economic devastation for the entire state and, on a lesser level, the surrounding states.  Kansas is respected as historically being progressive and forward-thinking in its use of water resources and this situation should be no different.  We feel that the state of Kansas must act now to prepare for the future so as to avoid a water crisis that is almost certainly on the horizon.