Reader comments

On Symposium: Climate change putting stress on Kansas water resources


lawrenceguy40 5 years, 2 months ago

Liberal propaganda!

The liberal elite on the hill want you to believe their "science" so that their paymasters in Washington can control YOUR life. Today marked the beginning of the end for these welfare bums. Congress has at last begun to remove the teat that feeds them.

deec 5 years, 2 months ago

Umm..Brownback and Rodman are on board with water conservation.

"With that in mind, Gov. Sam Brownback said the state should push as aggressively as possible to persuade farmers, industry and everyday Kansans to conserve water, and cities to develop and improve water sources.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/01/4094381/brownback-kansas-needs-to-plan.html#storylink=cpy

Ken Lassman 5 years, 2 months ago

We weren't caught flat footed, mike--you gotta have runoff to fill reservoirs. Kanopolis and Cedar Bluff "reservoirs" are examples of lakes that never really filled up once the dams were built. You can build all the dams you want, but they won't help a bit in a drought if there's no water behind them. As far as I know, there are no plans to build any new large reservoirs in the state, and this is the main reason.

elliottaw 5 years, 2 months ago

please tell me your joking, that you don't really believe that the fact that the well are drying up is a bunch of BS, you can believe or not believe in global warming but that doesn't really any anything to do with KS running out of water

avarom 5 years, 2 months ago

Just another way to get more money from your Water Bill.....like Kansas is going into a Drought,,,,,Pppppllleasssseeeee and everyone is going to be out of water and turn to dust, or mayber rust. Just wait until you get the "Smart Meter", the device that is added to your electricity....you use to much...your bill goes up sky high and the Electrical company controls the OMHS.... Same deal with Water Rations, over usage.....BAM...your bill goes up.....Just remember, I told you so.... Boy, the flu pandemic got over quick.......that bridge their selling is getting bigger......Global Warming......Carbon Tax........Tax Credits.......Green House Gases.......Garbage......Electrical.....Cars.....Water Ration....Its a Business........and about Control......to make you all broke.......lmao

I don't mention that Greeland Glacier......Ice just melts....Every think about why Eskimos...make Igloos....Duh...its to stay warm!

Ken Lassman 5 years, 2 months ago

You know, it's a shame those hurricanes, droughts, heat waves and animal migrations have sided with those pesky liberals. Why don't you go out there and start up a tea party movement in the natural world? Seems to me that you could get a hefty contribution from the Koch brothers down the pike--oops I guess they don't really live in Wichita--weather's too extremist.

SnakeFist 5 years, 2 months ago

So you believe the contrary "science" put forth by business. You think climate experts ("liberal elites") are compromised because they rely on grants and so have an incentive to take positions that support further research, but you completely ignore the fact that business owners ("conservative elites") are much more clearly compromised because they pursue profits and so have an incentive to take positions that reject any and all findings that their products or processes cause problems. Maybe you even still believe that tobacco, asbestos, and lead paint are all good for you.

You're so worried about being controlled by liberal elites, that you aren't even aware of how much control the conservative elites have over you. You reject the "welfare bums" in favor of the bloodsuckers, and you're glad the public "teat" is being removed from the experts while you offer your own teat to the salesmen.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 2 months ago

Look, I've got this whole roll of tinfoil; take all you need. Please.

question4u 5 years, 2 months ago

Note to conspiracy theorists: roughly 2% of scientists are skeptical that climate change is influenced by human activity, but 0% of scientists are skeptical that climate change is occurring. To deny climate change you would have to argue that the Greenland ice sheet is not shrinking, that every satellite photograph is fake, and that by secret agreement of all the journalists in the world no one has broken the story. That's only one kind of data that you'd have to deny. There's more data than a single person could refute in multiple lifetimes, and you'd have to argue that it's all fake. Good luck finding any scientist who believes that.

The conspiracy that you want is the one that says that 98% of the scientists in the entire world, who claim to recognize that climate change is occurring and believe it to be highly likely that some of this change is influenced by human activity, are in fact lying and that only the 2% of skeptics, – many of whom, like Rep. Dennis Hedke, earn their livings from the oil, gas and coal industries – know the truth.

Since this article says nothing about the CAUSES of climate change, you'll need to wait to voice your conspiracy theories. Even the most ardent promoters of the oil, gas, and coal industries know not to make fools of themselves by claiming that the current drought is a fabrication of schemers in Washington. Blame it on whatever you want, even Martians or the Boy Scouts of America if that makes you happy, but if you claim that Kansas is not experiencing drought the only ones who will listen and not think you're crazy are your cats.

Liberty275 5 years, 2 months ago

"To deny climate change you would have to argue that the Greenland ice sheet is not shrinking,"

The glaciers that once covered northeast Kansas shrunk too.

blindrabbit 5 years, 2 months ago

The deniers have as their legislative champion the conservative religious whacko Committee Chairman Oklahoma Senator James Mountain Inhofe, a nut case if there ever was one. Interestingly, Inhofe denies all environmental science and attributes all to God's will, this while his home state (Oklahoma) has borne the brunt of Climate Changes, tornadoes, drought, prairie fires, unusual floods and just plain ignorance.

tomatogrower 5 years, 2 months ago

Yes, it's funny. It must be God's will that Oklahoma and Texas burn up from the droughts, and now Kansas. Yet they keep up their very non Christian, hateful attitudes. What does God need to do before they get the message?

Orwell 5 years, 2 months ago

Not sure, but I expect there will be serious smiting involved.

Graczyk 5 years, 2 months ago

The reporting on Steeple's practices is incomplete and poorly fit into the article. I was at that meeting last night and this is what I understood him to say:

  1. He does not irrigate. Most of Rooks County, where his farm is, does not overlie the Ogallala. All of his water comes in the form of precipitation. Mostly he does not like not-ill because he sees other farms close to him that have greater run-off. Feddema chimed in to say that this could be because local soils have more clay, which expands when wet.
  2. He does not use no-till, but does use an undercutter plow. Many people consider this to be type of conservation tillage. The plow blade travels a few inches under the soil, loosening the soil and cutting the roots of weeds but largely leaving the soil unturned. This is very different from conventional tillage with a one way plow. Steeples said that he hasn't used that type of plow in over a decade. He thinks that he gets better water retention with this method than his neighbors who use no-till.
  3. I don't think he grows corn at all. In a private conversation after the symposium, he told me that dryland corn only works 2 out of every 5 years in his area.
  4. I can't speak to what subsidies he collects. He did say he uses crop insurance. But you can find out by going here and looking for yourself. http://farm.ewg.org/index.php That would be much better than making uninformed statements when you obviously haven't the faintest idea of whether your statement is factual or not. He could collect quite a lot. I don't know and don't really care.

If someone else was there, please feel free to amend or correct my understanding of his statements.

deec 5 years, 2 months ago

Don W Steeples Lawrence, KS 66049 $ 129,639.46

Ken Lassman 5 years, 2 months ago

Wow--thanks Graczyk for the much better reportage of what Steeples said compared to Hancock/LJW article, which almost implies the opposite of what your fleshed out details provide. Seems like his crop rotation and farming practices better fit the dryland farming parameters that more and more farmers are going to have to return to as the Ogallah becomes more and more uneconomical to suck the water out of, and therefore his experience is going to be more valuable than, say, GM drought resistant-but-still-resource-intensive-and-high-priced varieties that may be developed.

Curtis Lange 5 years, 2 months ago

It, obviously, has nothing to do with population increases. It's all big bad "climate change."

grandnanny 5 years, 2 months ago

Yes, notice all of that growth since Brownback became governor. People are just rushing here to get free land and tax breaks. Oh, that was the 1860s and the Homestead Act of 1863 which gave people 160 acres. I would guess that most of that 53,000 settled in the "dark spiritual area" or southern Johnson County, despite Brownback giving them tax breaks to settle in certain western counties that are losing population.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 2 months ago

Kansas becomes more like Mississippi by the day.

Perennial crops = cotton.

Graczyk 5 years, 2 months ago

Cotton is a perennial plant. However, I think it is managed as an annual when used for fiber production. Cotton won't work in most parts of Kansas though - not a long enough growing season.

With that said, I'm with you on the comparison between Kansas and Mississippi. I thought I left the south behind when I cam out here. Oh well.

George_Braziller 5 years, 2 months ago

The season's long enough but it's not winter-hardy in Kansas. I grew some in central Kansas in my garden as a novelty when I was a kid. My grandmother gave me some seeds she collected when she and my grandfather were in Tennessee.

Graczyk 5 years, 2 months ago

The farmers I know who grow cotton are all in SW Kansas (though I know of a few around Winfield, too) and say that they barely have enough hot days to get an adequate harvest down there. The plant may grow, but boll production will suffer without sufficient growing days. Conventional wisdom for SW Kansas uses Hwy 160 through Ulysses as the cut-off for cotton. You may find some a little north of there, but I doubt there will be any in Oberlin.

George_Braziller 5 years, 2 months ago

The cotton I grew produced bolls the size of a baseball. I grew up about 30 miles north of Hutchinson. During the summer all you have is heat, sun, and low humidity. God I miss that. I've lived in Lawrence for 31 years and still hate the summer humidity here.

George_Braziller 5 years, 2 months ago

Doesn't take that long. I have a forest of it because It's such a prolific self-seeder. I've started cutting the seed heads off in the fall to keep it under control. If I don't I have to pull up all the new ones that come up in the spring.

Graczyk 5 years, 2 months ago

I moved from the southeast, so I actually think that Lawrence is drier than the swamp I crawled out of.

Regarding the cotton, I understand that you were happy with the results of the cotton that you planted as a kid. However, I think that the experience of people who plant hundreds of acres of it and depend on it for their livelihood carries more weight.

George_Braziller 5 years, 2 months ago

All I was saying was that it would grow here.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 2 months ago

I had a neighbor when I lived in North Lawrence who came up from Mississippi where he lived in his childhood. He'd grow a row of cotton in his North Lawrence garden just to show his kids and grandkids what it looked like.

Orwell 5 years, 2 months ago

If the PetroPublicans keep it up winter-hardiness won't be an issue much longer.

50YearResident 5 years, 2 months ago

I don't like to eat cotton. It tastes like a dishrag to me.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 2 months ago

A quick google search reveals both Six and Morrision pressed the water case against Colorado AND Nebraska on a frequent basis, there are many news articles about it. It would appear Six took a case all the way to the Supreme Court. The top hit on a google search also reveals Six pressed the legislature to restore $17 million in funding for water litigation.

Google is not your friend.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 2 months ago

Kansas won the battle but lost the war. Colorado is still sucking it dry despite losing in court. And believe me, that battle started well before Six was in there and will continue long after you are dead.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 2 months ago

You claimed he didn't pick it up at all. Was Stovall successful?

Graczyk 5 years, 2 months ago

For at least the last two years there has been the Governor's Water Conference. There will also be one next year. The focus is almost exclusively on western Kansas water issues.

Graczyk 5 years, 2 months ago

Water rights are private property rights in Kansas. There is a moratorium on new wells and each water user is allocated a certain amount per year. What more would you have government do? Without a major government intervention that seizes all of the water rights, I am not sure what you would want to happen. Irrigation for crops is something like 90% of all water taken from the Ogallala. The government could pay people to convert to dry land farrming, but the yields would plummet and western Kansas would be faced with painful economic restructuring. I am no fan of Brownback, but I think he is doing what he can given the circumstances. That conference is bringing together end-users, researchers, and policy makers to share their perspectives and latest research. That is a model that has been successfully used for a great many development or natural resource management problems. At that conference last year, economic models of water use were discussed (the value of every inch of water in bushels applied to a crop), alternative irrigation strategies and technologies, developments in policy with regard to crop insurance and short irrigation, etc.

The problem is industrial agriculture (understood as a set of practices and related economic activity) more than it is Brownback.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 2 months ago

Rex Buchanan of the KS Geological Survey has a good piece about the Ogallala Aquifer and local attempts to deal with the declining water levels, called Local Enhanced Managment Areas, or LEMAs, where folks groups themselves together and set goals of decreased consumption. At any rate, here's a link to his article: http://kansaspublicradio.org/news/commentaries/5994-new-approach-may-help-save-the-ogallala-aquifer

Graczyk 5 years, 2 months ago

I think those LEMAs are a major piece of the puzzle. The LEMAs, combined with "buy and dry" programs, and advances in irrigation technology and knowledge should help extend the usable life of the aquifer. I am not sure if sustainable use rates can ever be achieved. The recharge rate is so low in Kansas that it seems that any use is depletion. I really need to learn more about the specifics of that, however.

1957 5 years, 2 months ago

Climate has always been dynamic and always will be. It is pure hubris to think humans can change that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 2 months ago

Yes, climate changes-- always has and always will. Humans have now become a major part of that process, and at the current pace, that's going to be disastrous for the next several generations of humans. That's not hubris-- just fact.

Alyosha 5 years, 2 months ago

Not really. But it is hubris to think that you know better than legions of experts who have devoted their lives to studying climatology.

Do you assert that you are a better source of information and analysis than experts in climatology?

Ken Lassman 5 years, 2 months ago

Humans haven't changed the earth's landscapes? They haven't changed the composition of the water, the air in other ways besides CO2? The composition of oceans? The size, composition and diversity of the forests, prairies, wetlands, fisheries, animal species, etc.?

Indeed it is your hubris to think that we can do all of these things and much more and expect the climate to NOT be affected.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 2 months ago

The average wheat yield per acre in Kansas is 40 bushels/acre; the average in Texas is 30 bushels per acre. Precipitation is not much different between the wheat growing regions of both states. What is different is that Texas gets many more days above 90 F during the growing season, and temperatures above the ideal for growth significantly reduce yields. Even if precipitation patterns don't change, and even if the Ogallala doesn't run out of economically extractable water, we are looking at a ~25% loss in yields as temperatures in Kansas become more like Kansas.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.