Ogallala Aquifer

A center-pivot irrigation system is viewed in a field

Kansas legislation got ‘watered down’ but will help aquifer conservation efforts

BY: - May 12, 2023

Kansas state representatives this spring voted for “historic” legislation spending more than $50 million a year on preserving groundwater and restoring the state’s reservoirs. By the time the Senate finished with the bill, it was “watered down” but “a good start.” Rep. Lindsay Vaughn, D-Overland Park, said when lawmakers and farm and environmental groups come […]

New laws increase accountability for Kansas water districts, set aside conservation funding

BY: - April 20, 2023

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly signed two water laws, providing millions of dollars in state funding for water conservation in a bipartisan effort to tackle drought across the state.  Western Kansas has used the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground store of freshwater in the United States, to supply agricultural irrigation for decades. With water levels […]

Rep. Lindsay Vaughn

‘There’s still hope’: Kansas House advances bills to help save Ogallala Aquifer

BY: - February 22, 2023

TOPEKA — House members celebrated a “historic” effort to address the state’s looming water crisis by advancing a pair of bills that would earmark funding for water-related projects and hold Groundwater Management Districts accountable for conservation efforts. The chamber gave first-round approval to House Bill 2279, which deals with the GMDs, and House Bill 2302, […]

The Kansas Statehouse inner dome soars overhead, while the Kansas unemployment rate continues to fall. The February rate of 2.5% was lowest in a decade. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas lawmakers put faith in the power of positive self-delusion

BY: - February 20, 2023

The Kansas Legislature and its leaders seem to believe if they close their eyes tight enough and sing to themselves loud enough, the real world will go away. This session, they have tried repeatedly to deny our state’s problems. Their policy preferences hinge on a make-believe world, one in which the Ogallala Aquifer gushes with […]

Kansas House committee advances bills to conserve water in Ogallala Aquifer

BY: - February 16, 2023

Members of a Kansas House committee on Thursday passed legislation meant to push officials in western Kansas to come up with ideas to conserve water in the disappearing Ogallala Aquifer. The legislation — along with a bill dedicating sales tax revenue to fund water projects — passed the House Water Committee on a voice vote with […]

Audit finds western Kansas keeps losing water, despite local efforts

BY: - February 15, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Local agencies in western Kansas have had decades to slow the decline of the Ogallala Aquifer, but most areas had less water last year than they did a decade ago, according to an audit released Wednesday. The audit, which evaluated groundwater management districts, or GMDs, was released as a staggering drought and […]

A center-pivot irrigation system is viewed in a field

House bill calls for western Kansas to create plans to save the Ogallala Aquifer

BY: - February 9, 2023

TOPEKA — For half a century, groundwater managers in western Kansas have been charged with slowing the decline of the Ogallala Aquifer. Fifty years later, parts of the aquifer are nearing crisis, and legislators want action. “We’re here today so that we don’t become what the Colorado River Valley or Central California looks like,” said […]

A center-pivot irrigation system is viewed in a field

Kansas legislators renew efforts to save Ogallala Aquifer

BY: - January 17, 2023

TOPEKA — Saving the Ogallala Aquifer could mean economic trade-offs in the short-term, the chairman of the Kansas House Water Committee said Tuesday. But the state can make progress and still maintain the farming economy of western Kansas, said Rep. Jim Minnix, R-Scott City.  “If I were a banker … looking at the value of […]

Water debate will return to Kansas Legislature amid staggering drought

BY: - December 26, 2022

Legislators are almost certain to place the decline of the Ogallala Aquifer among their top priorities as the drought bearing down on Western Kansas hits the already depleted water supply. Every inch of Kansas is either abnormally dry or in a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, with most of the western half of […]

Kansas Water Authority members appear at a table during a meeting

‘It’s time to deal with this’: Kansas Water Authority wants to save Ogallala Aquifer

BY: - December 15, 2022

COLBY — Kansas should scrap its de facto policy of draining the Ogallala Aquifer, a state board decided Wednesday. Instead, the board said, the Kansas government should take steps to stop the decline of the aquifer and save it for future generations. “It has taken decades for this to be said formally in writing by […]

Gov. Laura Kelly greets staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly pledges focus on water: ‘Waiting for a miracle is not an option’

BY: - November 16, 2022

MANHATTAN — Kansans have “a responsibility to do something” about the state’s rapidly depleting water supply and the risk of widespread contamination, Gov. Laura Kelly said at a conference Wednesday in Manhattan. “Waiting for a miracle is not an option,” she told a crowd of about 500 at the 11th annual Governor’s Conference on the […]

Officials plan to truck 6,000 gallons of water from Missouri River across Kansas

BY: - October 21, 2022

An agency charged with conserving groundwater in arid western Kansas plans to truck thousands of gallons of water from the Missouri River nearly 400 miles almost to the Colorado border. Half of the 6,000 gallons drawn from the river will be poured onto a property in Wichita County. The other half will be taken into […]