The Kansas Water Commission was created by the 1917 Legislature to “ . . . work out a systematic general plan for the complete development of each watershed in the state . . .” However, no planning funds were provided. In 1927, the Kansas Water Commission was abolished and its planning functions were assigned to the Division of Water Resources, State Board of Agriculture. In 1947, a plan was officially adopted for the Neosho River Basin.
In 1955, the newly created Kansas Water Resources Board was directed to “. . . work out a state plan of water resources development for each watershed in the state. . .” In 1958, an amendment to the Kansas Constitution removed the prohibition against state financial involvement in water projects. Also in 1958 the Federal Water Supply Act authorized a portion of the costs of a federal multipurpose reservoir project to be allocated to future municipal and industrial water supply.
In 1963, the Legislature enacted the State Water Plan Act, which directed the Board to present to the Legislature a comprehensive state water plan. In 1965, the Board submitted a draft of proposed legislation which was enacted as the State Water Plan
In 1966, the Board prepared reports on special water districts, groundwater, water quality control needs, irrigation, water law, and water demands for industrial, municipal and rural domestic uses. In 1968, the Board, and the Bureau of Reclamation, began studies to analyze the land and water resources of Kansas. Included in these studies were projections of the economy, population and water needs for the years 1985 and 2000.
The Board concentrated n studies of mineral intrusion areas and modifications to the 1968 Groundwater Management District Act. Two significant pieces of legislation were enacted during this period: the 1972 Groundwater Management District Act and the 1974 State Water Plan Storage Act.
In 1978, the final report of a two-year study by a governor’s task force on water resources contained 39 recommendations regarding the state’s legal, policy and administrative water issues. In 1979, the Board began to revise the State Water Plan, placing increased emphasis on conservation and management. In 1981, the revised plan was passed by the Legislature. On July 1, 1981, the Kansas Water Resources Board was abolished and renamed the Kansas Water Office. A 16-member Kansas Water Authority was created and assumed many of the duties and responsibilities of the former Board.
In 1983, legislation addressing interbasin transfers of water, minimum desirable streamflows and amendments to the State Water Plan Storage Act was enacted.
In the fall of 1983, the Office presented a proposed State Water Plan to the Authority and discussed the plan at public meetings throughout the state.
In November 1984, the Kansas Water Plan was approved by the Kansas Water Authority and submitted to the Governor and Legislature. On February 18, 1985, HCR 5010 officially endorsed the planning process of the Kansas Water Office and requested the state’s water agencies to submit legislation to implement the plan’s proposals.
In 1985, an 11-member basin advisory committee was established in each of the state’s 12 major river basins.
Based on legislation passed in 1985, the nation’s first water assurance district (the Kansas River Water Assurance District) came “on line” during the drought of 1991.
Creation of the State Water Plan Fund in 1989 provided a dedicated source of revenue for implementation of the Kansas Water Plan. This fund provides around $18 million annually and is comprised of a combination of state general revenues, economic development initiative funds (lottery), and various water use fees on municipal, industrial and stock water uses, and fees on pesticide and fertilizer use. Pollution fines, penalties and sand royalties also contribute to the fund.
Major additions to the Kansas Water Plan during this period were “Public Education: A Natural Resources Curriculum for Kansas Schools” (1990), “On-Site Assistance to Public Water Supply System Personnel: (1990), “Water Use Conservation” (1990) and “Coordination of Geographic Based Planning and Implementation Process” (1991).
The Kansas Water Office initiated a sub-basin planning effort in 1992 designed to focus planning on specific priority issues that were not identified in the existing basin plans. One such example is the “Upper Arkansas River Corridor Sub-basin Plan.”
The Governor’s Water Quality Initiative was launched in 1995. It was a multi-agency investigation of surface water contamination from nonpoint source pollution in the Kansas-Lower Republican Basin.
The Kansas Water Office and Governor’s Office sponsored a vision summit in November 1997, attended by over 200 representatives of the water community that participated in drafting long-range goals for the Kansas Water Plan.
In 1998, after extensive discussions, the Kansas Water Authority approved the draft goals developed from the 1997 vision summit as Kansas Water Plan objectives for the year 2010.
The 2010 objectives provide the basis for a revised Kansas Water Plan approved by the Kansas Water Authority in 1999.
Other Articles of Interest:
Got Water? An update on our national water policy. Oh wait, other than sandbags and firehoses, we don't have one.
By Elizabeth de la Vega, Mother Jones, July 2008.
On June 24, 2008, Louie and I curled up on the couch to watch seven of the nation's foremost water resources experts testify before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.
Energy, water demands are on a collision course
by Robert Byrd, McClatchy News Service
Like the old song, ``Love and marriage, love and marriage . . . you can't have one without the other,'' so it goes with energy and water.
By John Luomo, Mother Jones, November/December 2002.
Even before the water turned brown, Gordon Certain had plenty to worry about. With his north Atlanta neighborhood in the middle of a growth boom, the president of the North Buckhead Civic Association had been busy fielding complaints about traffic, a sewer tunnel being built near a nature preserve, and developers razing tidy postwar ranch homes to make room for mansions. But nothing compared to the volume of calls and emails that flooded Certain's home office in May, when Georgia's environmental protection agency issued an alert to North Buckhead residents: Their tap water, the agency warned, wasn't safe to drink unless they boiled it first.
Water Privatizers on the Defensive,
New Internationalist, June 2003.
Between 16 and 23 March in Kyoto, Japan, the Third World Water Forum took place in a growing climate of controversy – and the middle of a full-scale war in Iraq. However, resource wars are not just about oil, as the battles over water privatization show. Olivier Hoedeman reports…
Changing Climate Requires Changing Water Policy
Julia Whitty, The BlueMarble Blog, February 2008
Guess what? The past is no longer a reliable base on which to plan the future of water management. So says a prominent group of hydrologists and climatologists writing in Science. The group calls for fundamental changes to the science behind water planning and policy.
The Damn Water Is Ours,
New Internationalist, September 2001.
In a defining struggle against globalization, the people of Cochabamba, Bolivia took back their water from the hands of a corporate conglomerate. Marcela López Levy talked to the water warriors.
Blue Gold: An Interview with Maude Barlow
By Jeff Fleisher, Mother Jones, January 2005.
In this recent interview with Mother Jones, water activist Maude Barlow describes how, more and more, developing countries are pressured into ceding control over their dwindling water supplies to private firms.
A webpage with resources that show easy ways to conserve water and learn how you can cake a difference.
Kansas Water Office
Website of the Kansas Water Office. The Water Office coordinates the Kansas water planning process in concert with the Kansas Water Authority.
Kansas Food Policy Council
The primary objective of the KFPC is to bring together a diverse group of public and private sector stakeholders to examine food systems in the state.