LAKIN, Kansas– On Thursday, a revised version of the 1982 aqueduct study was presented to the Kansas Water Authority.
The 300 page document looks at the possibility of bringing water from the Missouri River to dry Western Kansas.
Board member Randy Hayzlett made the motion to accept the report, by accepting it the Water Authority acknowledged that the 33 year old study is valid in today’s world.
“It was an 82 study and the costs back then were significantly different,” Hayzlett said, “The demand for water in Western Kansas was different at that time, it’s tremendously more now.”
On Friday, the Arkansas River was flowing South of Lakin, but it doesn’t always. The drought and depleted aquifer have made it more necessary than ever for Kansas water officials to consider the need for water transfers across the state.
Now, the next step is to bring the report to Kansas lawmakers.
“Those challenges that the study identifies clearly are state policy decisions the legislature will have to grapple with,” said Kansas Water Office Director Tracy Streeter.
Those challenges include an $18 billion price tag And getting other Missouri river stakeholders to agree to the idea of diverting water away from its source, something Missouri Governor Jay Nixon made clear he was not a fan of in his State of the State Address earlier this month.
“That said, we still intend to reach out to Missouri and the other states and see if we can have a conversation about it,” Streeter said.
“At some point there will have to be a compact with the Missouri River states to share that water and determine who has how much water out of the Missouri River and what Kansas might be entitled to,” said Hayzlett.