Legislation on Water 2023-24

Introduction – Starting in 2021, the Kansas Legislature’s House Committee on Water (HCOW) has been investigating how water agencies are organized, whether and how to increase funding related to water, the work of the state’s GMDs, and more. While little came from the 2021-22 work, this page links to this previous foundational work, and chronicles the significant legislation passed in 2023, and the work of the on-going work of Committee during 2024.

Current (2024) work of the Committee

See the following new article of 2/5/2024 for the current work of the HCOW.

2023 Legislation Expands Funding and Increases GMD accountability

On April 20, 2023, Governor Kelly signed the two water bills passed by the Legislature: HB 2279 (GMD bill) and HB 2302 (water funding).

4/5/2023 updates from my twitter account (@KWRConsulting):

4/4/2023 update: The Senate passed amended versions of both HB 2279 and HB 2302 (actually a Senate substitute bill in the later case, with state general funds as a funding source rather than a dedicated part of the state’s sales tax). A conference committee resolved differences over HB 2279 on 4/4; they continue to work to resolve differences on HB 2302.

3/16/2023 update: Hearings on HB 2279, the GMD bill, held on March 14 in Senate Ag/Natural Resources. Here is a link to the combined testimony. The hearing on HB 2302, the Water Funding bill, held March 15-16. Link to testimony. Committee working on amendments to HB 2279, to finish Monday and as well as action on HB 2302.

On February 23, 2023, the full House overwhelming passes the amended GMD and funding bills. It is now in the Senate, assigned to the Senate Agriculture / Natural Resources Committee.

2/17/2023 – House Committee on Water passes out favorably, with broad bi-partisan support, amended versions of both HB 2279 (the GMD bill) and HB 2302, expanded funding for water projects by $54 million/year. Historic. Links to the original bills are below. Below are links to the amended bills approved by the Committee, based on feedback the committee received through the process. An explanation of the amendments was provided at the committee meeting – video. Next stop: the full House.

2021-22 legislative efforts on water:

The House Committee on Water 2023

The 2023 HCOW under new leadership. The committee page is here. The new chair is Rep. Jim Minnix of Scott City; the vice-chair is Rep. Cyndi Howerton of Wichita, and the ranking minority member continues to be Rep. Lindsay Vaughn of Overland Park. The committee meets Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:00 in Room 218-N.

Bills

  • HB 2279 – Requiring groundwater management districts to submit annual written reports to the legislature and to submit water conservation and stabilization plans to the chief engineer. Compare with last year’s provisions, Hearing: Thursday, Feb 9. D. Barfield testimony
  • HB 2302 – Expanding water funding via portion of sales tax;, modifying the distribution of moneys into the state water plan fund, creating the water technical assistance fund and the water projects grant fund for water-related infrastructure projects. Hearing: Tuesday, February 14.

Agenda for the week of 2/6/2023

  • 2/7/2023 – Brad Mears, Kansas Municipal Utilities – video
  • 2/9/2023 – Hearing on HB 2279 – video documents. Note: my presentation starts at 14:40. My testimony link is above.

Agenda for the week of 1/30/2023

  • 1/31/2023 – Leo Henning & Tom Stiles, Kansas Department of Health and Environment  video
  • 2/2/2023 –  Brian Olson, KSU, Western Kansas Research Extension Centers; Matt Sanderson, KSU, Professor of Sociology’ Nathan Westrup, Kansas Water Office, Reservoir Contracts.  video

Agenda for the week of 1/23/2023

  • 1/24/2023 – Dawn Buehler, Chair of the Kansas Water Authority videomaterials
  • 1/26/2023 – GMD 1 and GMD 4 presentations by Katie Durham and Shannon Kenyon, Overview of conservation efforts and challenges; Dr. Bill Golden, Kansas State University, Agriculture Economics   videomaterials

Agenda for the week of 1/16/2023:

  • 1/17/2023 – Kansas Water Office briefing – Video Materials
  • 1/19/2022- Briefings by KDA-Division of Water Resources and the Kansas Geological Survey. VideoMaterials

Agenda of the week of 1/9/2023:

  • 1/10/2023 – Committee introductions, procedures, rules
  • 1/12/2023 – Former Chief Engineer David Barfield addresses the committee on the duties of the chief engineer and the KDA-Division of water resources, KWAA; groundwater management, LEMA and more. Link to video (90 minutes). PowerPoint and other materials

Topical pages (to come):

  • Re-organization of water agencies
  • Additional Funding related to water:
  • GMDs