Implementing the Water Vision

(Lane) A lot has happened in this last year. We’ve had multiple meetings. We established 14 different regions in Kansas because there’s so much variation on the water supply recharge in the different aquifers. So, it was important to make sure that we understood those differences because one size does not fit all in Kansas. We established goal setting teams. And those teams worked very hard to come up with what’s considered smart goals in their regions. They’re specific and they’re measurable. And each one of those then presented those to the Kansas Water Authority. And the Water Authority adopted those goals. Then the next step, we established regional advisory committees. That was kind of a transition from the basin advisory committees, but these regions are not on basin boundaries, they’re actually on aquifer boundaries. And so we have the 14 regional advisory committees. Those goals have been handed off to those regional advisory committees. Also, with the vision we had a number of action items to do. One of the action items was asking us then to look at our statutes and regulations. To make sure that they’re up to date, and they truly implement what we’re doing. And today we presented four draft rules that we’re still getting feedback. It’s really important that we get feedback from people. And to talk about those a little bit, sealing meters to the pipe to make sure that the integrity of our water use data is maintained. And so, a second rule is limiting the movement of a point of diversion in a declining aquifer. We heard over and over, in what it started was, once a well goes bad, no more redrills in the Ogallala. Folks didn’t want their neighbor or themselves to chase water. And so what we have drafted is limit that movement to 300 feet. If they can demonstrate with that science that where they move to does not have an impact to their neighbors we will allow a longer movement then. Or then also if spacing improves a situation, say there’s an impairment situation, they want to move out of that. So, there will be some exceptions to that rule. Civil penalties. Unfortunately, in Kansas, we’ve got a handful of people that will pay the civil penalty for not filing an Annual Water Use report. Therefore, we want to increase those penalties of just suspending water use until they file that annual Water Use Report. And then the fourth one is we heard so much that the civil penalties that we have in place now are not nearly high enough and it really became a cost of doing business, whether a producer was going to over-pump or tamper with their meter to get an advantage of more authorized quantity, over pumping. Therefore…and then also they said if we need to expire that penalty after a number of years, much like a driver’s license for speeding, therefore we’re giving consideration to expiring the civil penalty after five years but then starting…implementing the over-pumping penalty at a narrower window. And then also looking at suspension of water use.

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