In this issue: Updates on April GMD meetings and the April 14 Kansas Water Authority meeting.
Note: KDA-DWR’s Topeka Field Office has moved to 1131 SW Winding Rd, Suite 400.
Groundwater Management District (GMD) April meetings:
- GMDs 1, 2 and 5 chose not to meet during April.
Southwest GMD No. 3, highlights from their April 8, 2020 Board meeting.
- Both GMD3 and DWR reported on their operations due to COVID19 with offices being closed but services continuing.
- Board vacancies. As a result of Board member Mike O‘Brate moving to Garden City, he resigned his Gray County seat. However, as a result of the vacating of the Finney County position, he was moved to this seat. He will continue as Treasurer. The Board will be advertising the Gray County position and looking at committee assignment when that is complete.
- Nick Hatcher’s Water Conservation Area (WCA) renewal. After review, the Board voted to recommend approval of the WCA renewal.
- Mark Rude reported another version of a proposed revised management program for GMD 3 is available on their website.
- Chris Law reported that GMD 3 is preparing for this year’s flow meter inspection program.
- Full agenda and more information available via their Board packet.
Northwest GMD No. 4, highlights from their April 8, 2020 Board meeting
- GMD 4 and DWR reported on office operations related to COVID19. The offices are closed but services being provided.
- Wateruse tracking program from Mammoth Water . Manager Shannon Kenyon reported that she is working to recruit members to use the new program and get it up and running. Forms to sign up are on GMD 4’s home page http://gmd4.org/. So far 57 water rights signed up. The program allows groundwater users to track water use relative to water rights and LEMAs allocation.
- GMD 4 LEMA – District legal counsel Adam Dees, reported there is nothing new related to the case before the Gove County District Court.
- Master irrigator program. The Board held extensive discussion on this topic. Shannon has been exploring the Master Irrigator program’s implementation in Texas and Colorado, as well as developing partners for bringing it to GMD 4. She sought input from the Board on whether to continue with this effort and, if so, on how best to implement it in the GMD 4. The Board supported her continuing her work to develop the program. In hopes of expanded participation, the Board asked her to explore combining online completion of modules with face-to-face meetings. Shannon noted that the Texas program has all their lectures online.
- Board position 11. After discussion, the Board appointed Marsha Shilling as a replacement for this vacant Board position.
- Remote Board meeting participation via “GoTo” meeting. The Board believed the use of this technology worked well, allowing others to participate, reducing travel, and increasing transparency. Adam expressed that he preferred a face-to-face for the Board but thought it was fine for others.
- Next meeting: tentatively set for May 6, at 10:00.
- Previous minutes available at: http://gmd4.org/BoardMeetings.html
Kansas Water Authority, April 14, 2020 Meeting
For details, see the following:
- The state’s response to the COVID19 crisis was discussed with state agency staff working remotely as much as possible and skeleton crews in the office. KDA is helping the Dept. of Labor and KWO is assisting KDEM with phone banks.
- An update and action on Regional Advisory Committee appointments occurred.
- The Water Vision/State Water Plan update process is continuing. A schedule for working toward completing the process was discussed with a goal of adopted Water Plan updates by January 2021, barring additional delays as a result of the COVID19 crisis.
- Legislative and budget updates. This included a discussion of the 2019 Special Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources Recommendations, particularly related to flooding, as well as legislative action on FY 2020 and FY 2021 appropriations. The FY 2020 appropriation includes the addition of the Arbuckle Study and Flood Response Study. A webinar will be held April 17, 1:30, esp. for RACs on budget information.
- Federal updates included discussion on the status of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Proposed Rules and the withdrawal of the Corps of Engineers proposed Water Supply Rule.
- There was also a briefing on federal cooperative agreement with Kansas, which must be approved by the KWA (in a subsequent meeting).
- Director Earl Lewis noted that there is potential for flooding again this year on the Missouri River and that southwest Kansas is increasingly dry.
- A webinar on the Ogallala will be held on April 29 at noon.
- Acting KDA-DWR Chief Engineer Chris Beightel noted:
- On March 26, GMD 1 forwarded a LEMA plan for Wichita County proposing reductions of water use of approximately 16-20%, depending the degree of voluntary participation by vested rights. The initial hearing will be scheduled when practical.
- At its last board meeting, GMD 4 decided to move ahead with development of a Master Irrigator Program similar to those of Texas and Colorado.
- DWR’s Topeka Field Office has moved to 1131 SW Winding Rd, Suite 400. The KDA labs have moved to a new facility in Manhattan, adjacent to KDA’s offices.
- Mike Armstrong noted the Corps of Engineer’s March 18 public notice related to permit applications for sand dredging on Missouri River. The Corps will hold a webinar on the applications on April 21 at 3:00 and will close the public comment period on May 2. A 2017 study showed that this dredging leads to bed degradation problems on the Missouri River. After discussion, the KWA directed the KWO to provide comment to the Corps opposing the granting of the permits.
- Future meetings: May meeting on phone. Late June/July in person meeting expected.