Red Hills Regional Advisory Committee

Map of Red Hills RAC Boundaries

Current Focus Area

A pilot project to treat produced water for reuse has received funding. The 60-day operation to treat water produced along with oil and gas production is a step toward reuse of produced water, reducing fresh water in the oil and gas industry, and supplementing available water supplies in the region.

Guiding Principles

After review of the existing water resources within the region, the Red Hills Goals Team prioritized conservation of existing supplies as the highest priority. During the discussion of new sources of supply, the team noted the lengthy process of planning, designing, permitting, and funding and reflected those issues through realistic time frames. A significant amount of oil production occurs in this region and the team recognized this with water conservation goals as well.

About the RAC

RAC Planner: Diane Knowles - diane.knowles@kwo.ks.gov

The Red Hills RAC has members representing agriculture, fish and wildlife, local government, industry and commerce, public water supply, conservation and environment, and the general public. Click here for a full list of Red Hills Regional Advisory Committee Membership.

The Red Hills RAC has four goals to address water issues in the region. Click here to read the full Red Hills Action Plan.

 

Gypsum Hills

 

The Red Hills, also referred to as Gypsum Hills or the "Medicine Hills" by the Plains Indians, is located mostly in Clark, Comanche, and Barber Counties in southern and central Kansas. Sinkholes are common features of the Red Hills Region, with Big Basin and Little Basin being two of the well-known sinkholes in western Clark County.

State of the Resource

This document is a tool to show record of activities and progress towards regional goals and The Vision. Agriculture and oil and gas production are important to the local economy.  For the Red Hills Regional Planning Area the limited water resources of the region are recognized as a challenge to growth and economic stability of the region. Surface and groundwater resources within the region suffered from lower than normal precipitation from 2009 to 2015, which made groundwater use peak at nearly 70,000 acre feet during 2011. 

To learn more about the regions efforts to add to the usable water supply, please visit the State of the Resource page to view the report.

Regional Activities

The Red Hills RAC believes that conservation by all water use types is key to the area’s future.  Ensuring that water management tools and programs are available is a priority.  The largest water uses in the region, agriculture and public water supply, have programs and assistance available to use water efficiently and possibly reduce overall usage.  The RAC believes these programs need to continue and expand accessibility in their region.

The RAC also believes that a better understanding of the water resources is needed from both a scientific and decision makers aspect and the general public. In order to understand streamflow characteristics and alluvial groundwater in the region additional monitoring needed.  One specific interest is in identifying a location(s) and installation of stream gauge(s) related to the proposed lake site.

The petroleum industry fresh water use in oil and gas production rose when development peaked around 2010.  Although the need by industry for water has dropped since, demand is anticipated to increase again as oil and gas prices rise.  The RAC supports reuse and use of produced water to lower demands for fresh water. It is hoped a pilot project to address treatment of produce water would aid in these efforts.

The committee also supports the development of a multipurpose small lake for recreation and future water supply, recognizing the long-term nature of the goal. It intends to develop education and outreach efforts to increase local awareness of water concerns.  

Meeting Notes & Presentations

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