Drought conditions persist and intensify for Kansas which led Governor Sam Brownback to update the Drought Declaration for Kansas counties with an executive order allowing water to be withdrawn from state fishing lakes. The update includes all 105 counties in an emergency status.
"While reservoirs and cities have been able to meet their communities' needs so far, it is imperative citizens conserve water in every way they can," Governor Brownback said. "Drought outlook indicates conditions are expected to continue or intensify for the state and we need increased cooperation going forward."
The updated drought declaration has all 105 counties in an emergency status. This status triggers the Kansas Water Office KWO and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism KDWPT to issue a Memorandum of Understanding MOU for emergency use of state fishing lake storage under conditions of drought emergency declared by the Governor. This action was recommended by Tracy Streeter, Director of the KWO and Chair of the Governor's Drought Response Team.
"Our focus at this time is to ensure communities, livestock producers and farmers have the available resources they need," said Tracy Streeter, Director of the Kansas Water Office and Chair of the Governor's Drought Response Team. "This MOU would allow small communities and producers to pump water from certain state fishing lakes to provide some relief if they are in dire need of water."
Individuals and communities need to contact the KWO for a water supply request and they will in turn be referred to the appropriate KDWPT office to obtain the necessary permit to withdraw the water. The MOU limits the types of water use and a fee may be set for use of the state fishing lakes' water supply.
"We are glad to be able to offer this as an option to Kansans in desperate need for water," said Robin Jennison, KDWPT Secretary. "The priority order established for this MOU is domestic, municipal and then livestock uses, while also protecting the lake's fish population."
Farmers and ranchers need to keep open dialogue with their local County Emergency Boards as they continue to monitor crop conditions for losses that may have occurred due to drought, severe storms and hail throughout the State.
"As fields, pastures and stock ponds get drier in this drought, we must do everything in our power to assure farmers and ranchers have the ability to access all water and forage available to care for their crops and livestock," said Dale Rodman, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture. "This declaration takes an important step to provide an additional water source for livestock and going forward we will continue working with all stakeholders to help producers cope with and recover from this drought."
The State Fishing Lakes available for withdrawals for emergency declared counties include: Atchison, Barber, Brown, Bourbon, Butler, Chase, Clark, Crawford, Goodman, Jewell, Kingman, Leavenworth, Lyon, Pottawatomie #1, Pottawatomie #2, McPherson, Miami, Mined Lands (Pits), Neosho, Osage, Ottawa, Saline, Scott, Shawnee, Sheridan, Washington, Wilson, and Woodson.
This emergency drought declaration by the Governor also makes water available from Corps of Engineers reservoirs. Water for domestic and livestock use may be made available subject to a small permit fee of $20. Contact the KWO for requests and additional information.
The Governor's Drought Response Team will continue to watch the situation closely and work to minimize the effects the drought has on Kansans.
For more detailed information about current conditions, see the Kansas Climate Summary and Drought Report on the Kansas Water Office website at: www.kwo.org