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Water supply in Kansas is dwindling and the race to save it before it runs out

Producers and lawmakers in a Midwestern state say their state’s water supply is in dire need of a solution before it runs dry.

Several multi-year droughts in the last 20 years have depleted the Ogallala Aquifer, but Northeast Kansas cattle rancher Phillip Perry tells Brownfield many producers are trying to conserve water. “Those guys in the cattle feeding area have it figured out and capturing that resource rather than letting it escape.”

Kansas Livestock Association members voted to for a resolution that would fund the state water plan by diverting a percentage of the existing statewide sales tax revenue.

Governor Laura Kelly tells Brownfield she pledges to create short- and long-term solutions by bringing stakeholders together in her second term. “Whether it be the irrigators, the municipalities, the recreational users – bringing them all together for an extended period of time.  I expect it will take years to really develop a strategic plan that will stabilize our water situation out generations.”

Kelly has convened the Blue Ribbon Funding Task Force for Water Resource Management to help address the impacts to the state.

She says development and implementation of water conservation technology will be a critical step. “We are working with our farmers to ensure, if they want to because it needs to be voluntary,  that we’re helping subsidize that technology that they can implement it so they can do water conservation that way.”

And, she says, they are dredging streams and reservoirs to increase capacity.

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