Governor Sam Brownback – Water Plan

(Conrad) Good morning and welcome to Farm Factor on AGam in Kansas. I’m your host Conrad Kabus. Today’s show is all about the 50-Year Water Vision Plan at the Governor’s Conference in November. Take a look. Last year Governor Brownback issued a call to action to his administration to develop a 50-Year Water Vision Year Plan for the future of Kansas. After the first draft was made, revisions were brought to the annual Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas, which was held November 12th through the 13th at the Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center in Manhattan, Kansas. (Brownback) Absolutely. If you don’t have water you don’t have a future. And that applies to people, it applies to an economy. We have to secure long term water resources. (Conrad) The Brownback administration believes that federal regulations on water usage with farmers, including ones from the Environmental Protection Agency and other government organizations should be a state determined issue. (Brownback) I believe in local control and I believe in their leadership. It’s here. There’s a lot of people that said, OK you need to do a number of mandatory things. Most of those people said that privately and they didn’t put that out. But, the way to deal with these issues, when we’ve got such a varied resource which we do, particularly the high plains aquifer, is you gotta get that local control and local buy in. That’s why the first LEMA was a really important thing- for it to happen. And for it to be successful and work. So, as I said, we’re gonna push the change of that LEMA statute to make it more flexible. We’re gonna push implementation of more LEMAs and a localized planning process by basin, which is a little different configuration. And have what people within that basin then, they know their groundwater resources and surface water resources and we’re gonna push hard to get them to set, OK what’s your objective, what’s your goal here in this region, given the water resources and you know what it is? And then we’re gonna keep on top of that. Water is a tough issue. As long as I’ve been around, it’s been a hard issue. And we’re starting to make some progress. We need to make more progress on this for future generations. (Conrad) The Local Enhancement Management Areas or LEMA process is a central component of the legislation supported by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback in 2012 to reform multiple Kansas water statutes. It allows GMDs to initiate public hearing processes to consider locally developed LEMA proposals aimed at conserving water resources while also meeting local needs. (Brownback) This amending the LIMA statute, I think, is a key one really because we had several attempts to put LEMAs in other areas, and it was either too big, it ran into different problems and I think we need to make that statute more flexible for people to be able to effectively use it. There were several other things that were mentioned in there as well, but to me and my way of thinking, that LEMA offers a local control and a way for locals to set their objectives and limit themselves. Which is I think gonna be a key part of this process. And we’re gonna watch it closely. It’s something I’m gonna be very focused on this second term.

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