Stockton Field Office
Scott Ross, Water Commissioner (Scott's Bio)
The Stockton Field Office covers water rights from both surface and groundwater sources. The majority of the water rights are associated with irrigation. Under the supervision of a Water Commissioner, the field office staff act as agents of the Chief Engineer to monitor and regulate the use of water according to the Kansas Water Appropriation Act, the Groundwater Management Act, and the rules and regulations dealing with water administration within the boundaries shown on the map below.
Some additional responsibilities associated with the Stockton Field Office are:
- Working with five irrigation districts
- Administering water rights based on Minimum Desirable Streamflow (MDS)
- Special Issues Related to the Stockton Field Office
The Stockton Field Office includes tributaries to the Republican River. The water supply of the Republican River is apportioned by a 1943 Republican River Compact between Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska. The compact is federal law and state law within each state. The Field Office assists in the implementation of the terms of the settlement concerning Kansas' compliance with the Compact allocations and participation in studies being conducted by the States as a result of the Settlement.
There are three Intensive Groundwater Use Control Areas (IGUCAs) in the Stockton Field Office area.
- Hays IGUCA: The Hays IGUCA was established in July of 1985. It provided some measure of regulation of domestic users in Hays in an effort to regulate waste of water. It further provided a mechanism by which the City of Hays could regulate certain water uses.
- Lower Smoky Hill IGUCA: The Lower Smoky Hill IGUCA was established in November 1983. It reduced the quantities authorized to be diverted by both the irrigation community and the municipal users which diverted water from that area below Cedar Bluff Dam and the confluence of the Smoky Hill River with Big Creek. These diversions were limited on the basis of their consumptive use. Irrigators were generally limited to 15 inches of irrigation per year, and municipalities limited to 90 percent of their highest use for a given period. At the time the Lower Smoky Hill IGUCA was established, the affected community requested DWR to investigate those water users upstream of Cedar Bluff Dam.
- Upper Smoky Hill IGUCA: The Upper Smoky Hill IGUCA was established in July 1988. It limited the approval of any new applications approved to divert water from the Smoky Hill River Basin above Cedar Bluff Dam to the headwaters near the Colorado border, to not more than 25 acre-feet or 50 gallons per minute. It did not limit or reduce any of the existing water rights.
Much of the Stockton Field Office area has been subject to water right administration during the irrigation season from 1960 through the 1990s. In 1984, the Chief Engineer closed much of the area to new appropriations. Generally, closed areas were defined as the surface water and groundwater of Beaver Creek, Sappa Creek, Prairie Dog Creek, the North and South Forks of the Solomon River, and Big Creek, as well as the surface water and groundwater of their tributaries. These areas remain closed to new appropriations.
The Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4 covers all or parts of Cheyenne, Rawlins, Decatur, Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, Graham, Wallace, Logan and Gove counties in the Stockton Field Office area. Groundwater Management Districts provide local representation of water users.
The Stockton Field Office also protects diversion from five Irrigation Districts delivering water from five U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs in Kansas and one U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir in Nebraska. These Irrigation Districts hold water rights to divert nearly 270,000 acre-feet of water.
How to contact us:
Kansas Department of Agriculture
Division of Water Resources - Stockton Field Office
820 S. Walnut St.
Stockton, KS 67669
Phone: (785) 425-6787
Fax: (785) 425-6842