Topeka Having already paid $35 million to Kansas because of a lawsuit over the Arkansas River, Colorado covered an additional $1.1 million in expenses incurred to make sure it doesn't take too much water, Atty. Gen. Phill Kline said Friday.
Kline said the payment represented another significant victory in the lawsuit, filed by Kansas with the U.S. Supreme Court in 1984. The nation's highest court sided with Kansas in 1995, but damages weren't settled until late in 2004.
But even Colorado's big payment last year didn't settle all issues, because the two states must monitor water use. The latest payment helps reimburse Kansas for hiring experts to deal with technical issues.
Kline said those issues dealt with calculating how much water Colorado farmers were taking and how much must be allowed to flow in the Arkansas across the state line, and figuring out how to account for evaporation that occurs when water is pumped into farm fields for irrigation.
Had Kansas not prevailed on the technical issues, it would have seen significantly less water from Colorado, Kline said.
"There are other issues that are ongoing," Kline said.
The Arkansas, a tributary of the Mississippi River, flows 1,450 miles east and southeast through Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Kansas and Colorado have fought over the river's water for more than a century and first took a dispute to the Supreme Court in 1902. In the 1984 lawsuit, Kansas charged that Colorado farmers had taken too much water out of the river in violation of their water compact.
Kline said two-thirds of the additional $1.1 million would go to local water projects, with the state retaining the remaining third, about $366,000, for its water quality and conservation programs.