Following is a listing of programs being conducted within the district.
All wells located within the boundary of the Western Kansas Groundwater Management (WKGMD) District No.1, which withdraw water from any aquifer, other than domestic, shall be equipped with an acceptable metering device.
A representative of the district shall have the right to read the meter whenever deemed necessary. (Authorized by K.S.A. 1980 Supp.82a-1028(o); implementing K.S.A. 1980 Supp.82a-1029(1); effective May 1, 1981)
(a) In Line Flow Meter
An in line flow meter may be installed meeting the specifications of the Division of Water Resources for quality, type and installation standards. This is the preferred option since it is considered more reliable and accurate, particularly for wells that experience significant seasonal water table decline and non-uniform operating conditions during the season.
Tailwater Control and Waste Program
In an effort to control and prevent wastage of water, WKGMD No.1 has established regulation 5-21-2, which states impart, “No water user shall allow water which is pumped or diverted from any aquifer to leave the land under the water user’s direct supervision and control.”
The policy of WKGMD No.1 to enforce this regulation is to allow an investigation to be conducted by a staff member. If a violation is occurring, a letter is sent to the water user informing him of the violation and requesting some corrective action be taken. The district follows this procedure for the first two times a complaint is made or received. The third time a complaint is received, the board member from the county the violation is originating and a staff member both investigate the complaint. At that time, all of the information collected to date is submitted to the districts attorney for the filing of a petition for a permanent injunction.
Water Use Reporting
Each year the Division of Water Resources requires each owner of a water right or permit to appropriate water for beneficial use, except for domestic use, to file an annual report on a form prescribed by the state. These reports must be received in the office of the chief engineer by March 1st following the end of the previous calendar year. The District provides assistance to water users in the timely filing of these reports. In addition, the water users may elect to file with the District, a verified claim for the actual amount of water used. This information is then used to calculate the water user assessment for certification to the County Clerks for collection.
Three times per year the District is required to make compliance inspections on water rights, which have been modified. This falls under the 5-year allocation or the rotation program for individuals, which have increased the authorized land under the water rights. This is done through a memorandum of understanding with the Division of Water Resources and the District. If the water user is found out of compliance, there is a mandatory two-year suspensions of any water use.
The District cooperates with the Division of Water Resources (DWR) and the Kansas Water Office (KWO) in reviewing annual water use reports, which had overpumped their water right. These individuals are required to meet with the three agencies and develop a program that would keep them within the terms and conditions of their water rights. Flow meters are required as are monthly water use reports and a water conservation plan for each overpumper. After a year of compliance, they are dropped from the program. Future over pumping can result in the complete stoppage of water use for a period of time.
Annual Water Level Measurement Program
The District annually takes static water level measurements for water users who request them. This is typically done in January or February of each year. In addition, the Kansas Geological Survey and the Division of Water Resources take approximately 140 static water level measurements each year. These are used to maintain our database and prepare aquifer maps.
Weather Modification Program
Another program that WKGMD No.1 sponsors is an operational weather modification program. This program was initiated in 1975 in an attempt to increase the natural rainfall and reduce crop-damaging hail in Western Kansas during the growing season. After following the experimental work that was done in the early 70’s in Northwest Kansas, it was the feeling of the district that we could perhaps reduce the stress being imposed on our groundwater resources. This program has been conducted each year since that time. Due to the interest received from other counties, this program has enlarged to include most all of Southwest Kansas. The original headquarters for the program is located at the Kearny county airport in Lakin, Kansas, where the meteorologist and radar are located.
In 1994 the Kansas Water Office conducted an evaluation to see what effects could be found from this program. In comparing six counties that had continuously participated in the program each year and eight counties in Northwest Kansas that had never been involved in seeding, they found a twenty seven (27) percent reduction in crop damaging hail. Since 1987, when the seeding agent was modified, they found hail reductions approaching fifty (50) percent. There have now been seven evaluations conducted on this program with all indicating positive benefits.
The district now owns eight aircraft that we utilize on this program. As funding permits, we are able to fly some of these aircraft each year. Funding is provided by the participating counties, groundwater management districts, and occasionally from the State of Kansas Given the difficult times we are presently encountering, we have been flying only four of these aircraft each season. The seeding season generally runs from mid April through mid September.