August 2, 2011
Drought Emergency Term Permits Extended to Additional Areas
As this year’s drought continues and its effect expands, the Division of Water Resources (DWR) has expanded the opportunity to apply for a 2011 Drought Term Permit to include water right holders in Marion and McPherson counties. The one-time, drought-focused term permit allows holders of existing water rights the flexibility to borrow a portion of next year’s authorized quantity in order to complete the 2011 growing season.
Previously, the emergency drought terms permits also were not available to water rights within Intensive Groundwater Use Control Areas (IGUCAs). DWR is also extending eligibility to apply for drought term permits to the Pawnee Valley IGUCA and Burrton IGUCA.
As of this writing, over 200 emergency drought terms permit applications have been received. In addition, DWR field offices as well as the groundwater management districts continue to receive strong interest in the program. This is particularly true in south central Kansas.
“We are committed to serving our customers and are particularly concerned about the severe drought that is taking a toll on many Kansas farmers and ranchers,” Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman said. “By being flexible and adding to the areas eligible for term permits we hope to improve Kansas agricultures ability to adapt and recover.”
The term permit allocation will be based on the sum of the quantity authorized for 2011 and 2012. Permitted use during the two years is expected to be aquifer neutral as participants will agree to deduct their 2011 overage from what they are permitted to pump in 2012. Drought Term Permit Applications must be filed on or before December 31, 2011.
The option was first introduced June 30 for the forty-six counties in Kansas that had received a U.S. Department of Agriculture emergency drought declaration for 2011. Based on feedback from stakeholders about severe drought conditions in additional counties, four additional counties were added on July 7.
Qualifying counties now include Barber, Barton, Butler, Clark, Comanche, Cowley, Edwards, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Harper, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, McPherson, Meade, Morton, Ness, Norton, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Rush, Russell, Sedgwick, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Thomas, Trego, Wallace and Wichita Counties.
Further details of these options, application forms and instructions with a fee schedule are available on DWR’s web page at 2011 Drought Options or from the Division’s field offices. For more information, contact DWR Water Appropriation Program Manager Lane Letourneau at firstname.lastname@example.org or (785) 296-3710. Information is also available from DWR field offices located in Garden City (620) 276-2901, Stafford (620) 234-5311 and Stockton (785) 425-6787.
Corps Announces Strategy for Evacuating Missouri River Floodwaters
Due to high spring rainfall on top of significant winter snowpack in the upper Missouri River basin, since early June the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has been making record releases from its Missouri River mainstem reservoir system. Over the period since early June, the Corps releases from the system have been approximately twice the historic peak producing levee failure and closing a significant section of I-29 in southern Iowa and northern Missouri.
On July 29, the Corps announced its strategy for reducing releases from its six mainstem dams in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. According to that announcement, the plan allows the Corps to be ready for the 2012 runoff season, while reducing the risk of further damage and getting affected homeowners, farmers and businesses back on their properties to begin repair and recovery as quickly as possible. In the plan, the Corps will:
- Step down system release from the current 160,000 cfs to 150,000 cfs, this week.
- Hold releases at 150,000 cfs, until August 16.
- Gradually step down the release to 90,000 cfs, from August 16 to 27.
- Hold releases at 90,000 cfs until Sept 12, to allow for inspection of infrastructure and levees.
- Gradually step down the release to the normal level of 40,000 cfs, from Sept 13 to 30.
It will take several days for the effects of these release reductions to reach the Kansas section of the River. Also note that in the reach below Gavins Point there are significant inflows from tributaries along the way and potential for uncontrolled precipitation events to increase flows.
Additional information about the 2011 release strategy, including the full text of the July 29, press release can be found on the US Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District website.
DWR Wants to Develop LIDAR in More Kansas Communities
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 1:24,000 scale topographic maps have traditionally been used to make contour maps used in flood and dam breach inundation area maps. However, many counties in Kansas have been creating new contour maps using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), with a more detailed interval of two feet as compared to USGS topographic maps that use 10-feet intervals. LIDAR is a method of creating topographical information with an airplane flying over an area shooting laser pulses to the ground. A light-detecting sensor on the airplane then takes a reading and maps the topography from the laser pulses. An example of the mapping detail provided by LIDAR can be found in the September 2, 2010 edition of DWR Currents.
Tom Morey, NFIP coordinator for Kansas, has worked with other agencies to fund LIDAR projects by pooling together monies. The list of agencies includes but is not limited to National Resources Conservation Service, USGS, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas Water Office, Kansas Geographical Information System (GIS) Policy Board and local communities.
Right: Extent of LIDAR Coverage in Kansas. Click to enlarge image.
DWR’s floodplain management staff is responsible for coordinating the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in Kansas. More information can be found on the DWR Floodplain Management website. If you have questions about LIDAR for your community, contact Tom Morey by e-mail Tom.Morey@kda.ks.gov or by telephone at (785) 296-5440.
- August 4: Northwest Kansas GMD 4 Board Meeting (Colby)
- August 9: Equus Beds GMD 2 Board Meeting (Halstead)
- August 10: Southwest Kansas GMD 3 Board Meeting (Garden City)
- August 11: Big Bend GMD 5 Board Meeting (Stafford)
- August 16: Western Kansas GMD 1 Board Meeting (Scott City)
For more information about these and other upcoming events, please check our online events listings.