MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kansas State University is now in the process of funding a Sandhills Irrigation Research Unit (SIRU) as part of its Western Kansas Irrigation Research Project. said Pat Coyne, head of K-State's Western Kansas Agricultural Research Center.
"K-State decided to establish the SIRU based on a recommendation from the Ogallala Task Force," Coyne said. "The SIRU will operate as part of K-State's Southwest Research-Extension Center in Garden City."
The goal of the Western Kansas Irrigation Research Project and the SIRU is to prolong the economic life of the Ogallala Aquifer through enhanced research and educational programs. The Kansas legislature approved operating funds for the WKIRP and SIRU earlier this year.
"We are now seeking the private funds necessary to build infrastructure for the SIRU." Coyne said. "A key partner in this endeavor is Sunflower Electric Power Corporation. Sunflower Electric has generously offered to provide a site for the SIRU on the grounds of its Holcomb station -- a 360 megawatt, coal- filed power plant located about 2 miles south of Holcomb."
Siting the SIRU on the donated land is contingent upon securing water rights.
"A preliminary analysis between K-State and the Kansas Department of Agriculture's Division of Water Resources indicates that water rights sufficient to meet the needs of the SIRU are possible under existing policies and guidelines." Coyne said. "However, any diversion of water for the SIRU must be compatible with the water requirements of the Sunflower Electric Power Corporation."
Any agreement between K-State and Sunflower Electric Power Corporation must also be approved by KDA's chief engineer in the Division of Water Resources, he added.
"K-State's Southwest Research-Extension Center is very pleased to have the support of Sunflower Electric Power Corporation and the cooperation of KDA's Division of Water Resources in this endeavor," Coyne said. "Their collaboration is essential as we work together to promote science-based solutions to the complex issues associated with the use and protection of this important water resource."
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has offices, experiment fields and research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan, Kan.
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