Topeka A new law in Kansas designed to restore lakes that are filling up with sediment should be considered in other states, officials said Thursday.
The Council of State Governments recommended that all state legislators and governors look at the Kansas measure as "model state legislation" in trying to find solutions to siltation of lakes used as public water supplies.
The Kansas statute was sponsored during the 2005 legislative session by Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence.
"No other state has funded a program to preserve and restore lakes," Sloan said. "This is a problem emerging in a lot of states."
Sloan's legislation essentially moves fees paid by water suppliers from the state general fund into the state water plan fund, which can be used for projects such as dredging lakes.
The collected funds, estimated to be $3 million, won't be available until July 2007.
The State Conservation Commission is currently working on rules for the program and more than a dozen communities with lakes that have been hit hard with silt have expressed interest in the program, according to the Kansas Water Office.
There are 93 reservoirs in Kansas used for drinking water for approximately 60 percent of the state's population. The lakes are an average of 51 years old.
Big lakes - such as John Redmond Reservoir, Perry, Tuttle Creek and Cheney - have lost anywhere from 23 percent to 30 percent of their capacity to hold water because of sedimentation, according to studies.
Clinton Lake's storage capacity has decreased by 6 percent because of sedimentation, but even that figure is greater than was originally projected.