Pawnee-Buckner Subbasin Information
In July 1994, State Water Plan directed the need for further water resource management in the Pawnee River Valley. Kansas Department of Agriculture-Division of Water Resources was the agency identified as most appropriate to address the guidelines. The Basin Management Team was established in the Pawnee-Buckner subbasin in 1996.
The Pawnee-Buckner-Sawlog subbasin is located in south central Kansas. The primary stream system is the Pawnee River. Buckner Creek and Sawlog Creek are the two major tributaries. The subbasin includes all or part of the following counties: Edwards, Finney, Ford, Gray, Hodgeman, Lane, Ness, Pawnee and Scott counties. Representatives from only Hodgeman, Ness and Pawnee counties participated in the subbasin project.
Local volunteers came together to form a committee. It evaluated the hydrologic properties of the alluvial valley. The committee would make management decisions and recommend long-term management strategies for water resources within the subbasin. The committee has recommended that the chief engineer amend the order establishing the Pawnee Valley Intensive Groundwater Use Control Area. The amendment would include the part of the subbasin within Hodgeman and Ness counties, in addition to the area within Pawnee County. Drought conditions would require water resource management. The committee submitted the proposed management plans to the chief engineer in February 2000.
The Pawnee-Buckner subbasin has a long history of water resource management.
- In 1976, the Pawnee County residents voted to be part of the Big Bend Groundwater Management District No. 5. The Board of Directors of the Big Bend Groundwater Management District No. 5 adopts and implements programs to prevent long-term groundwater declines. The Pawnee Valley programs include an aggressive safe-yield program. It also includes well spacing regulations to prevent direct impairment. Big Bend Groundwater Management District No. 5
- In 1978, the chief engineer declared a moratorium on the approval of new applications pending completing of studies on groundwater supplies. Big Bend Groundwater Management District No. 5 recommended the moratorium.
- In 1980, Big Bend Groundwater Management District No. 5 sent a request to the chief engineer. It was to establish an Intensive Groundwater Use Control Area in the Pawnee River Valley.
- In 1981, the chief engineer issued an interim order designating the valley as an Intensive Groundwater Use Control Area. It was based on testimony at an administrative hearing. Pawnee Valley Intensive Groundwater Use Control Area
- In 1985, the safe-yield criteria for the Intensive Groundwater Use Control Area was amended.
- In 1988, Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 3 changed its boundaries to remove Hodgeman County from its district boundaries.
- In 1989, the chief engineer established a moratorium on future appropriations in Hodgeman and Ness Counties. This would include areas along the Pawnee River, Buckner Creek and Sawlog Creek.
- In 1996, the Basin Management Team, formerly the Subbasin Water Resource Management Program, was established in the subbasin. It worked with locals to develop management options.
- In 2000, the subbasin committee submitted two management proposals to the chief engineer to amend the current Pawnee Valley Intensive Groundwater Use Control Area order. This was necessary to implement the drought contingency plan they were proposing.
- In 2002, the chief engineer closed the subbasin to future appropriations.
- In 2006, the chief engineer issued an order to amend the current Pawnee Valley Intensive Groundwater Use Control Area order. The new order included Hodgeman and Ness counties. The management proposals submitted to the chief engineer in 2000 requested this addition.
- In 2007, the chief engineer issued an order to expand the boundaries of the Intensive Groundwater Use Control Area. A second hearing will be held to determine corrective controls.