Archive for Friday, November 22, 2013

Missouri governor asks Brownback to back off of study on diverting water from Missouri River

November 22, 2013


— Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has asked Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to back off of a feasibility study of Kansas taking water from the Missouri River to divert to western Kansas.

"The Missouri River is a resource that is vital to Missouri's way of life and our economy," Nixon said in a letter to Brownback.

Describing the Missouri River as the "lifeblood" of numerous communities, Nixon said the river provides drinking water and is used to ship goods to markets.

"We have worked for many years, and fought many legal battles, to ensure the River is managed properly," Nixon wrote. "Thoughtful and reasoned discussion and cooperation, rather than unilateral plans for massive diversions, must be the guiding forces in planning for the River's use," he urged.

Nixon's letter to Brownback was in response to the Kansas Water Office's plan to commission a study on a proposal to divert water from the Missouri River and transport that water through canals some 360 miles to irrigate crops in western Kansas.

The so-called Kansas Aqueduct Project has been on the shelf for decades, but has recently been re-emphasized by water officials in Kansas.

Brownback was at the Republican Governors Association conference in Arizona and unavailable for comment, his office said.

Earlier this week, David Brenn, president of the Kansas Water Congress, said the aqueduct proposal "is the best and last long-term hope for water supply in the state of Kansas." The congress is made up of water officials from across the state and works on water resource issues.

Mark Rude, executive director of the Garden City-based Groundwater Management District No. 3, said if the state takes no action in the next 50 years, the Ogallala Aquifer, a massive underground water system stretching from Nebraska to Texas, will be 70 percent depleted.

Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office, said the idea is to divert water at high flow or flood times on the Missouri River. That would help Kansas farmers and alleviate downstream flooding on the Missouri, he said. The water office is the state's water agency, which conducts water planning and helps make state water policy.

But Nixon said while Missourians have suffered through flooding on the Missouri River, they have also depended on the river during droughts.

"I am opposed to this diversion, and therefore request that you direct the Kansas Water Office to reconsider the planned study of this ill-advised project," Nixon said, adding that such a diversion would adversely impact Missouri.

Kansas and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have joined to fund a $300,000 study to re-calculate a 1982 study on the aqueduct project. In 1982, the study pegged the cost at $3.6 billion, but officials said estimates now could range from $12.5 billion to $25 billion. The new study is expected to be launched next year and completed in 18 months.


Randall Uhrich 4 years, 7 months ago

Here's a novel idea: Why don't we reduce the mining of the water of the Ogallala Aquifer at unsustainable rates, which doesn't require any expenditure? It's something that needs to be done anyhow.

Brock Masters 4 years, 7 months ago

Flood water is wasted water so why not use it?

Brock Masters 4 years, 7 months ago

So what, if the cost are paid by the water users and it allows the economy to prosper.

Yes the coat is significant but it doesn't mean the project isn't worth considering.

Amy Varoli Elliott 4 years, 7 months ago

Do you have any idea how much they would have to charge the farmers that tap into it per gallon in order to get their. Money back, it would be insanely high

Brock Masters 4 years, 7 months ago

No Amy I don't. Do you?

Yes, it may be high, but it still may be feasible. You don't know until you study it.

This is what studies do - answers questions and determine the viability of the project.

Cille King 4 years, 7 months ago

Kansas has $300,000 to pay for a study and pay for all these law suits?

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

This water from the Missouri is not all that available. It runs very very low quite often and the barge traffic needs the water.

We're talking pork barrel spending. In fact we may be discussing Hog Farms and more migrant workers. Corporate farms have zero respect for our natural resources and neither do right wing John Birch Society politicians.

Taxpayers do not need to have $25,000,000,000 tax dollars spent on a project such as this.

Spend $25,000,000,000 on a item that helps create economic growth aka Public Education.

4 years, 6 months ago

Interstate compact for barge traffic development on the Missouri River with Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska. Why do we have to float their barges?

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