Great Bend Prairie Regional Advisory Committee

Map of Great Bend Prairie RAC Boundaries

Current Focus Area

Achieve water use sustainability by 2025; enhance poor quality water monitoring for areas with salt water disposal lines, disposal wells and areas with high salt sources to prevent freshwater contamination. Initiate research and development of feed wheat as an alternative feed source.

Guiding Principle

Ensure regulations and programs put into place are reviewed to ensure various water use groups are not adversely affected by regulations and programs intended for an individual water use group. 

About the RAC

The Great Bend Prairie RAC has members representing all water users, including agriculture, public water supply, watershed protection, industry and commerce, conservation and environment, and the general public. Click here for the full list of Great Bend Regional Advisory Committee Membership. 

The Great Bend Prairie RAC has five previously developed goals and action plans to address important water issues in the region. Click here to read the full Great Bend Prairie Action PlanFor recently approved goals and action by the Kansas Water Authority for inclusion within the draft State Water Plan for the Great Bend Prairie and other regional planning areas please select here.

Great Bend Prarie


Cheyenne Bottoms is located within the northern portion of the Great Bend Prairie region. This was designated as a Wetland of International Importance in 1988. Also located in this region is the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Both of these wetlands are located on the Central Flyway, a major bird migration route from Canada to Mexico.  

State of the Resource

This document is a tool to show record of activities and progress towards regional goals and The Vision. The primary concern is for future water quality and supply to meet future needs fully.  Future needs include growth and economic development in the region, as well and adequate supply in times of drought.   The Great Bend Prairie Regional Planning Area uses both surface and groundwater to meet current needs. The majority used is from groundwater in the Great Bend Prairie aquifer portion of the High Plains Aquifer and alluvial aquifers.

To learn more about the diverse set of actions to maintain water resources into the future, please visit the State of the Resource page to view the report.


Regional Activities

The Great Bend Prairie RAC supports achieving a balance of usage that is sustainable over the long term. The RAC has been and continues to work to define sustainable use through existing models owned or used by the Big Bend Groundwater Management District #5 or Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Although the quantities of water that can be supported long term have not been fully defined, the RAC continues to support existing and the development of tools and programs to aid in water conservation, especially irrigated agriculture the largest water use in the region.  Discussion and inquiries with local, state and federal agencies on programs that reduce water withdrawn from aquifers are ongoing. Although not ideal, or applicable for the entire region programs are in place to financially assist irrigators to retire water rights in two specific areas along Rattlesnake Creek (Water Transition Assistance Program) and portions of the Arkansas River (Upper Arkansas Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program). In addition, the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) and Resource Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) have provided assistance related to irrigation water use efficiency and conservation.

 In late 2018 the lack of a Federal Farm Bill has stalled progress. The RAC supports the development of additional programs and eligible areas that allow producers to reduce water use, especially the development of a program which would allow water right retirement and dryland farming.

Other efforts by the Great Bend Prairie RAC include reducing impacts and incidents of salt water spills or leaks related to petroleum production; research and development of feed wheat as a feed source; continued training for public water supply systems; and additional flood protection from watershed dams. 

 The Great Bend Prairie RAC strives to stay current and informed on major water activities in the region. Presently an impairment complaint, the development of a Local Enhanced Management Area (LEMA), and a request to transfer water out of the region are items that can have impacts to the regions water resource.

Meeting Notes & Presentations

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900 SW Jackson Street
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