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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Kansas water policy changes moving forward

February 20, 2012

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— Legislators moved forward Monday on Kansas water policy changes aimed at improving conservation efforts and prolonging the life of water supplies.

It was the latest advancement on what is viewed by many legislators and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback as key measures to preserve the life of the Ogallala Aquifer and give farmers more flexibility to manage their resources during times of drought.

"This is an enormously significant issue for us in the state of Kansas. If we are to have a future, we have to have water," Brownback said.

On Monday, the House approved a bill that would allow water rights holders to form a reservoir improvement district. The bill, which now goes to the Senate, establishes a governing body that has the authority to develop plans to extend the life of reservoirs through management or improvement projects.

Several of Brownback's pieces of water policy changes are close to arriving at his desk. One would remove the 1945 policy requiring water rights holders to use the allotment each year or lose the right to the water. Another change would grant additional flexibility for use of water in dry years.

"Without the changes that allow farmers to adapt to the recent drought, our communities would be facing a serious economic situation," said Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler, a Lindsborg Republican. "In my district, the economic loss to Rice County alone would have been more than $23 million."

Brownback, a former state agriculture secretary, convened a summit in 2011 in western Kansas to discuss ways to conserve water and preserve the life expectancy of the Ogallala, a large aquifer that sustains agriculture and municipal water needs throughout the Great Plains region.

The governor hopes that when the doctrine is repealed, a discussion will begin on how to maintain the value of the water and ensure there is ample supply that can be sustained for decades.

"This has been a desire and push for many years, and I really think we are on the cusp of being able to do something quite significant. It'll be a gift for many generations to come," Brownback said.

Comments

deec 2 years, 10 months ago

Too bad that precious water will be rendered unusable once Keystone is ramrodded through and leaks into the Aquifer.

dontsheep 2 years, 10 months ago

Brownback just can't catch a break. He does something the left should be in agreement with and you still find a reason to complain.

Keystone won't have to be ramrodded through. The Pres approved it last week when he signed the payroll extension...aka HR 3630. Here's the applicable snipet.

"The President, acting through the Secretary of State, shall grant a permit relating to issuance of permits with respect to certain energy-related facilities and land transportation crossings on the international boundaries of the United States for the Keystone XL pipeline project."

Fred Mertz 2 years, 10 months ago

deec it is important to understand that the Keystone pipeline will be built in phases. Phase 1 is already complete, goes through Kansas and is operational now.

deec 2 years, 10 months ago

I know. Did you know the Aquifer is at or just below ground level in the parts of Nebraska where it was originally routed? The pipeline will be "buried" in the aquifer. The pollution isn't going to stay in Nebraska, but can contaminate the entire thing. How do you feel about a foreign corporation using eminent domain and condemnation procedures to steal land from unwilling farmers and ranchers? Aren't you one of those sanctity of private property folks?

Fred Mertz 2 years, 10 months ago

deec, how can an aquifer be at ground level? If it were true, it would be a lake or a swamp. Here is what I found.

"The depth of the water below the surface of the land ranges from almost 400 feet (122 m) in parts of the north to between 100 to 200 feet (30 to 61 m) throughout much of the south."

Can you direct me to anything to substantiate your claim?

Plus, how do you know where it will go in NE as it's not been approved yet in that state.

And yes, I am a strong proponent of private property rights and certainly do not support the use of eminent domain for economic development. However, I challenge your statement that a foreign coporation is going to use eminent domain. Provide me a link to back up your statement. Corporations do not have the power of eminent domain.

hujiko 2 years, 10 months ago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandhills_(Nebraska)

I don't want to get into any major description of geology, but the strata in the Sandhills creates a very shallow water table. This table is ultimately responsible for the Upper Ogallala Aquifer, which is incredibly important to Kansas. The Loup River is so close to the water table that its essentially oozing rather than flowing. Even the smallest, most contained amount of contamination poses a threat to a vast area in this type of environment.

seriouscat 2 years, 10 months ago

Corporations buy whatever power they friggin want. whether they are supposed to or not....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/14/keystone-pipeline-restraining-order_n_1277615.html

"Debra Medina, a property rights activist and Republican, has counted 89 cases so far in Texas where TransCanada had exercised eminent domain"

"We are involved because it's starting to look a whole lot like the Trans-Texas Corridor battle," said Terri Hall, founder of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom. "When push comes to shove, it's clear to me that my party is more interested in oil and gas interests than property rights," added Hall, a Republican.

seriouscat 2 years, 10 months ago

A video of a guy with a PhD in industrial engineering talking about the pipeline. Oh he's an occupier so obviously he just needs to take a bath and get a job right?

http://occupyintel.net/2012/02/20/the-video-you-never-saw-occupy-wichita-explains-keystone-xl/

juma 2 years, 10 months ago

When I was getting my MSc in Hydrogeology a professor told us to go study oil/ gas / minerals; not water. We asked why? His response was 'everyone and their dog is a self professed water expert and we will spend our professional lives arguing with everyone'. He was right. The ignorance of groundwater is acute. All I have time to post here is that water law is a hodge-podge across the world and although I do not support Brownback the water rights laws definitely need updating/revision.

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