Kansas-Colorado Arkansas River Compact Update
The Arkansas River Compact Administration (ARCA) will hold its annual meeting in Garden City, Kansas, on December 6, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. Central Standard Time (CST). The meeting agenda is available through the link below. The annual meeting provides ARCA with the opportunity to review operations related to John Martin Reservoir. Also, ARCA will hear reports from federal agencies, Colorado agencies, local Colorado water user agencies, and Kansas agencies. The Operations, Administrative and Legal, and Engineering Committees will meet at 1:30 p.m. CST, on Wednesday, December 5. The meetings will be at the Clarion Inn Conference Center, 1911 E. Kansas Ave., Garden City.
The Arkansas River Compact Administration administers provisions of the Kansas-Colorado Arkansas River Compact, including John Martin Reservoir operations.
The Kansas-Colorado Arkansas River Compact was negotiated in 1948 between Kansas and Colorado with participation by the federal government. Its stated purposes are: (1) to settle existing disputes and remove causes of future controversy between Colorado and Kansas, and (2) to equitably divide and apportion between Colorado and Kansas the waters of the Arkansas River as well as the benefits arising from John Martin Reservoir. The compact also established the Arkansas River Compact Administration (ARCA) to administer its provisions. ARCA is composed of Kansas, Colorado and federal representatives.
Kansas filed Kansas v. Colorado, No. 105, Original, in 1985 to enforce the terms of the compact. In 1994, Special Master Littleworth recommended that the United States Supreme Court determine that Colorado had violated Article IV-D of the compact by means of post-compact well pumping in Colorado. On May 15, 1995, the Court agreed. As a result of the damages and remedies phase, Colorado paid Kansas more than $34 million in damages for Colorado's compact violations during the period 1950 through 1999. Colorado also paid Kansas more than $1.1 million in costs related to litigating this case before the Supreme Court. This money has been deposited in three funds created by statute that specify generally how and where the money will be spent.
A judgment and decree was jointly developed by Kansas and Colorado based on decisions by the special master and the Court. The decree contains several appendices, such as the hydrologic-institutional model and accounting procedures, which will be used to determine if Colorado is in compliance with the compact. This judgment and decree was included in the special master’s fifth and final report which was entered by the Court on March 9, 2009.
An appendix to the judgment and decree was modified in 2009 as a result of an evaluation of the replacement requirements for Colorado well users along the Arkansas River between Pueblo, Colorado, and the Colorado-Kansas state line. The states submitted the modified appendix to the Court in August 4, 2009, bringing an end to the active litigation before the court.
Kansas staff and technical experts continue to monitor Colorado's compliance on an annual basis. Each year, the water accounting for the prior 10-year period is reviewed. Colorado has been in compliance for each of the 10-year compliance periods reviewed to date.
Chief Engineer David Barfield serves as one of three Kansas compact representatives along with David Brenn and Randy Hayzlett. Kevin Salter serves as ARCA Assistant Operations Secretary. Kansas Department of Agriculture staff provides technical and legal support.
Page last updated November 27, 2012.