U.S. Water News Online
TOPEKA, Kan. -- It's called water banking, but don't expect
to see bank presidents swimming around in three-piece suits. It's a
pilot program the state started to better distribute water and save
it for a day when it might be needed more than now.
David Pope, chief engineer for the state Division of Water
Resources, announced recently he signed the paperwork creating the
state's first water bank charter for groundwater users in
south-central Kansas. The Central Kansas Water Bank Association will
be available in Barton, Edwards, Kiowa, Pawnee, Pratt, Reno, Rice and
Stafford counties, and will announce when it's accepting
"This will be the proving ground for water banking in Kansas,"
Pope said. "It will show whether it's possible for water banking to
increase water conservation while providing an alternate water source
in an area closed to new water right development."
In Kansas, water use other than for household consumption requires
a water right permit, setting out how much water can be used each
year at a specific location and its intended use. It can only be used
for such things as irrigation, watering crops and livestock, for
recreation, or providing water to residents or industries.
"It will be done on paper. You don't gather up the water and take
it down to your local bank and deposit it," said spokeswoman Lisa
Through the bank charter, water rights holder can "deposit" water
they won't be using in coming years in exchange for payment or other
compensation from the person wanting it. Those making the "deposit"
continue to hold the water rights, which often remain in families for
Allowing others to use the water will require a minimum of 10
percent of the water to be conserved, Taylor said. That means for 100
acre feet of water on deposit, 90 acre feet will be available. The
"deposit" can range from one year to five years and after that, the
annual amount of water again is available to the water right holder.
A person can make water available only to a person who can draw it
from the same aquifer or groundwater. There aren't any restrictions
on use, so an industry could use water from an irrigator.
The program also sets up what it calls "safe deposit accounts"
where unused water can be carried over from one year to the next. A
complicated formula will be used to determine how much water can be
placed into the "safe deposit account," although the total amount
can't exceed what is allocated each year.
That could mean in a year when the full allotment of water wasn't
needed, it could be carried over to a drought year when extra water
would be needed.
"The safe deposit account gives water users some flexibility to
better manage their water right to meet their fluctuating need," Pope
The water bank charter will be valid for seven years. It was
created by the 2001 Legislature, which also authorized a second water
bank at a place to be determined.
the U.S. Water News' past archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.