David Barfield, P.E.
Chief Engineer - Division of Water Resources
Kansas Department of Agriculture
During June 2007, David Barfield was appointed chief engineer of the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Water Resources, succeeding David Pope, who retired after 24 years in the position. Barfield is just the fifth chief engineer to serve Kansas since the division’s inception in 1927.
As chief engineer, Barfield oversees staff of the Division with broad responsibility over the state’s water resources including the administration of over 33,000 active surface and ground water rights; regulation of dams, other water structures, and floodplains for public safety and to protect public property; representing the state on four interstate water compacts; and working with and approving actions of special water districts including Groundwater Management Districts, Watershed Districts, and others.
In addition to leading the Division of Water Resources, Barfield represents Kansas on Western States Water Council; is an appointed member of the State Conservation Commission, is an ex officio member of the Kansas Water Authority, and participates on the Governor’s Natural Resources Subcabinet. Barfield is the Governor’s appointee to represent Kansas on the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee.
Barfield has worked for the Division of Water Resources since 1984. Between 1984 and 1987, he performed special studies to guide water management decisions; from 1987 to 1992 he served as head of the Dam Safety Unit; and, from 1992 to 2007 he led a technical team working on matters related to Kansas’ interstate water issues, primarily involving disputes over the Republican, Arkansas and Missouri rivers.
Prior to working from the Division, he worked as a consultant in Minnesota for three years and served as a water resources engineer for three years in developing southern Africa.
Barfield earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Kansas in 1978 and a Master of Science in Water Resources Engineering in 1991, also from the University of Kansas.
Barfield and his wife, Cathy, have been married for 31 years, and they live in rural Douglas County. They have three grown daughters.