January 19, 2012
Busy 2012 legislative agenda taking shape
DWR is tracking the progress of several water resources related bills making their way through the 2012 Kansas Legislature. The following bills are newly introduced for the 2012 session:
House Bill 2451 would amend the Kansas Water Appropriation Act to eliminate “use it or lose it” for groundwater rights in areas closed to new water right development. A hearing on the bill was held in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Jan. 19 and the bill was passed out of committe on Jan. 20. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chris Wilson's testimony is available for download on the KDA website.
Senate Bill 272 would amend the multi-year flex accounts to give irrigators expanded capabilities to manage their crop water over a five year period. A hearing on the bill was held in the Senate Agriculture Committee on January 18. All those who testified supported the bill. The chief engineer’s testimony and report to the Legislature is available for download on the KDA website.
Senate Bill 310 would provide a process for creating proactive conservation areas called Local Enhancement Management Areas (LEMAs), which can have mandatory reductions, if supported by the Groundwater Management District, has corrective measures that address conservation needs and is approved by the Chief Engineer.
House Bill 2096 was held over from the 2011 sesssion. The bill would establish a coordinated water data repository system, grant preservation easement authority on state-owned land to the Kansas Water Office (KWO) and include drinking water costs in water plan storage rates.
Bill numbers have not been assigned but legislation will also be introduced on the following topics:
Kansas Water Banking Act - This proposed legislation would amend the act to allow development of additional groundwater Water Banks for a market-based program to relocate water use and provide conservation in water short areas.
Water Right Transition Assistance Pilot Project Program (WTAP) - WTAP is a voluntary, incentive-based program that permanently retires privately held irrigation water rights in exchange for payment by the state of Kansas. It is intended to help restore aquifers and recover stream flows in critically depleted target areas. The proposed legislation would make this program permanent.
We’ll report on any major progress regarding each of these pieces of legislation in DWR Currents. In between issues, updates regarding the status of each of these bills can be found on DWR’s 2012 Water Resources Bill Summary or Chief Engineer David Barfield's twitter account.
The chief engineer will be presenting additional information about multi-year flex accounts and local enhanced management areas during the 56th Annual Meeting of the Southwest Kansas Irrigation Association in Hugoton on Saturday, Jan. 21. Legislative matters will also be highlighted during the Kansas Water Issues Forums in Wichita (Feb. 29) and Hays (Mar. 1).
Stakeholder Forum at University of Kansas Edwards Campus
Last month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency began its 10-region series of National Disaster Recovery Framework (NRDF) stakeholder engagement forums to educate and further develop NDRF guidance documents, tools and implementation strategies. FEMA’s focus on recovery planning with involved organizations in the NRDF extends its traditional spotlight on immediate disaster response, for example, flooding and emergency action plans. The plan also notes the importance of water structures in terms of the nation’s infrastructure.
At FEMA’s Jan. 10 forum in Overland Park attended by Division of Water representatives, Region VII organizers defined NRDF—a collaborative concept incorporating shared definition of principles, roles and responsibility, coordinating structure, planning and overall process.
“What should you be thinking of now if something happened in your community --it’s those things that could happen at any second we need to prepare for,” said Elizabeth Zimmerman, deputy associate administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery.
Citing the concept’s cost effectiveness, use of fewer resources, and quicker recovery, David Miller, administrator, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration for the Iowa Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, asked: “Are there steps you can do today to make your community more resilient?”
The NDRF document introduces six Recovery Support Functions, one of which is organized to address matters pertinent to infrastructure systems including dams and other water structures. When the forum divided participants into separate RSF sessions for stakeholder input, the infrastructure group voiced the need for a focus on community planning, capacity building and economics to aid infrastructure system recovery. One participant suggested a pre-set doctrine for recovery similar to those in place for emergency response: “Everyone then is speaking the same language when the event happens.”
Infrastructure challenges cited were planning and resource capability, funding, state boundaries and regulations, resource prioritizations, differing priorities, assessment complexity, need determination, private sector need fulfillment and partner engagement maintenance.
Staff News: Conant, Schemm and Thompson
Cameron Conant has accepted the position of Assistant Water Commissioner in our Stafford Field Office, effective Jan. 22. 2012. We’ll have more about Cameron in a future edition of Currents.
Doug Schemm has accepted the position of New Applications Unit Head within DWR’s Water Appropriation Program. Doug has been with the Division since 2003, processing new applications to appropriate water for beneficial use. Doug also serves as the Division’s representative on the KGS geologic mapping advisory committee and contact person for the Kansas Groundwater Association. Prior to working for DWR, he worked in environmental consulting and was involved in contamination remediation projects and compliance assessments for industrial facilities throughout the United States.
Jeri Thompson is leaving DWR to accept a position with the Topeka Correctional Facility. Jeri joined DWR last fall as a temporary administrative assistant to help deal with the “flood” of Drought Emergency Term Permits in the Water Appropriation Program. She also mapped water wells while working for DWR during the summer of 1980. We wish her well in her new job, which begins January 23, 2012.
- Jan 21: Southwest Kansas Irrigation Association annual meeting (Hugoton)
- Feb. 9: Big Bend GMD 5 Board Meeting
- Feb. 9: Southwest Kansas GMD 3 Board Meeting
- Feb. 14: Equus Beds GMD 2 Board Meeting
- Feb. 15: Kansas Dam Safety Conference
- Feb. 15: Northwest Kansas GMD 4 Annual Meeting
- Feb. 21: Western Kansas GMD 1 Board Meeting
- Feb. 29: Kansas Water Issues Forum (Wichita)
- Mar. 1: Kansas Water Issues Forum (Hays)
- Mar. 1: Basics of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
- Mar 27-29: 45th Annual KRWA Conference