There is no one issue more important to farmers than water.
Kansas has been a leader in water management, being among the first states to institute water rights allocation, metering on every well, and in the last several years completing a 50-year plan for the future. The Long-Term Vision for the Future of Water Supply in Kansas was created to help address Kansas water issues, including the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer in western Kansas and silting-in of reservoirs in eastern Kansas.
Already, the state has undertaken several action items of the water plan, including a dredging of John Redmond Reservoir to increase water storage and streambank stabilization projects to reduce the amount of sediment being carried downstream to reservoirs.
Farmers in areas adjacent to lakes have also recognized the need to reduce runoff and switched to no-till farming practices, cover crops and enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program.
Water Technology Farms are another action item of the water plan. The Kansas Water Office program began four years ago with three farms and currently there are 15 farms on more than 40 fields throughout the state but concentrated overlying the High Plains Aquifer.
KWO plans to add a limited number of new technology farms and is currently accepting initial notice of interest for the 2020 growing season. The deadline for initial interest is Nov. 15.
These three-year pilot public-private partnerships demonstrate irrigation technology, research and management techniques. They have been valuable in expanding the conversation and education of producers and decision makers on water conservation in areas overlying the depleting Ogallala Aquifer and water quality protection in the Equus Beds Aquifer region.
Water Technology Farms are eligible statewide. Farms in a Water Conservation Area or a Local Enhanced Management Area, as well as other documented conservation programs, will be prioritized for consideration. Access to land as well as data records are required as part of this effort.
These Water Technology Farms wouldn’t be possible without key public-private partnerships with more than 100 sponsors. Visit kwo.ks.gov to learn about the existing farms and past results.
Those interested or wanting more information, contact Armando Zarco, KWO Water Resource Planner at 620-765-7485.This article includes information supplied by the Kansas Water Office.