Governor’s Conference for Water

https://youtu.be/078YU4DKAcI

(Susan) I’m Susan Metzger, I’m an Assistant Secretary with the Kansas Department of Agriculture and I’m here today at the Fourth Annual Governor’s Conference for the Future of Water in Kansas. And this morning session was an exciting opportunity to unveil the first year of implementation of our vision for the future of water in this state. And we announced really exciting things about the first water conservation area in Sherman County. We awarded the first legacy award for the original groundwater management district manager and GMD4. We announced a new prep program to help tackle nutrient impairments in our reservoirs and a number of other activities that are real successes for our first year of implementation. So one of the most exciting outcomes in the last Legislative session was an action item in the Vision that called for a locally developed water conservation plan that was a plan that a producer or water right owner could bring directly to the chief engineer and in that describe the types of conservation measures that they would implement on their own properties and with that would be a afforded certain flexibilities. We had our first winner awarded this week with signs for Sherman County; it’s the Franklin family. They’re in GMD4. And they’re committing to the next 15 years of aggressively implementing conservation practices on their operations. And as part of that, are going to have some flexibilities that aren’t available to those outside of a WCA, such as being able to pool their water rights and use them as one allocation, rather than separate. Another exciting announcement is that tomorrow we will be breaking ground on the disposal facilities for the first of its kind in the nation, dredging project at John Redmond Reservoir. And this is really important because it’s the first time that we’re using state and non-federal dollars to remove sediment from that facility. We’re gonna be removing three million cubic yards of sediment. And in doing that in this first phase we’ll be able to restore about 1,800 acre feet of storage. So, one of the things that we heard as we traveled around the state as a key for being able and being successful for long term water conservation is the adoption of technology on farms. And so here today we get to see first hand some of those technologies. They include what’s known as a dragon line, which is basically combining subsurface drip irrigation with drop nozzle irrigation, so you have really fine application of water on the field. And also combining that with soil moisture probes, so that you can really evaluate the amount of water that you’re putting on and measuring whether or not more application is needed. So, this was just year one and while we have a lot of successes to celebrate, 80 percent accomplishment of completing or implementing our phase one action items, we know that there’s 20 percent unmet. And that just because we started those 80 percent there’s still a long way to go. So in the coming years we want to make sure that we’re seeing more water conservation areas adopted. Then we want to adopt rules and regulations and penalty matrixes that help to encourage and sustain that conservation attitude going into the future. And we’re also then… a thing that we really need to focus on in the next few years is bringing our lessons learned to our neighboring states of Oklahoma, Colorado and Missouri. Bringing those states in with us and talking about a more collaborative approach for our water management throughout the region.

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