K.S.A. 82a-1029 describes the requirement for each Groundwater Management District to prepare a management program for approval of the Chief Engineer.
In the District’s first management program approved June 6, 1976, the Board of Directors recognized the unique nature of the local area and implemented guidelines to protect and conserve the Great Bend Prairie aquifer. These included strict monitoring of water use with flow meters, well spacing requirements, discouragement of waste of water and encouragement of the re-used water sources.
In the 1979 district management program, the Board of Directors implemented a safe yield policy and maximum reasonable quantity for irrigation to limit the development even further.
The District further solidified the safe yield for the area through the promulgation of K.A.R. 5-25-4 in 1980. By revising K.A.R. 5-25-4 in 1984, the Board of Directors limited the safe yield policy to 3,000 acre-feet (“AF”) in a two-mile radius.
On December 17, 1998, the District formally closed to new appropriations through another revision to K.A.R. 5-25-4. As a result of these management objectives and regulations, the water level declines have been limited. In severely dry years, the District does experience declines in the local Great Bend Prairie aquifer. However, in years of average to above average precipitation, the District recharges quickly.
In 2008, the District board approved the 2008 revision to the management program and submitted it to the Chief Engineer for consideration and approval. Unfortunately, the District has been waiting on action since that time.
In an effort to continue to move forward, the District has recently reviewed and revised the management program. The District board approved the revised management program to be submitted to the Chief Engineer for consideration and approval in October's board meeting.