Surface water issues such as nutrient and sediment loading into reservoirs are a primary concern and the RAC is involved in the Milford Lake Watershed RCPP. They also want to have a current bathymetric survey completed on Waconda Lake. The RAC is also in collaboration with the Kansas Bostwick Irrigation District to help junior water right holders along the Republican River when Minimum Desirable Streamflow is enacted.
Education of current and future water users were a very high priority to the Solomon-Republican Goals Team. Team discussion identified that the Kansas Water Appropriation Act has use versus recharge in balance with some of their areas having increased in saturated thickness levels of the portions of the Ogallala within their regions. Reliable supply remains an issue for surface water users.
The Solomon-Republican RAC consists of members representing all water users, including public water supply, municipal, agricultural, industrial, and the public at large. Click here for a full list of the Solomon-Republican Regional Advisory Committee Membership.
The Solomon-Republican RAC has four previously approved goals and action plans covering important issues. Click here to view the Solomon-Republican Action Plan. For recently approved goals and action plans by the Kansas Water Authority for inclusion within the draft State Water Plan for the Solomon-Republican and other regional planning areas please select here.
There are five federal reservoirs in the Solomon-Republican region; Keith Sebelius Lake (Norton), Kirwin Reservoir, Lovewell Reservoir, Waconda Lake (Glen Elder), and Webster Reservoir. The Republican River joins the Smoky Hill River at Junction City, Kansas to form the Kansas River. On July 9, 1902, the river flooded near Concordia, Kansas, breaking a dam and re-routing the river by a quarter-mile (about half a kilometer).
Given the projected sedimentation and water supply demands, results show relatively low sedimentation rates in Keith Sebelius Lake, Webster Reservoir, and Kirwin Reservoir compared to the higher rates in Lovewell Reservoir and Waconda Lake. Implementation of load reduction practices for reservoirs in this region show the most significant reductions in Keith Sebelius and Kirwin Reservoir watersheds. The aggressive RAC goal of a twenty-five percent reduction in sediment loading per decade would lead to storage obtaining a near steady-state capacity within fifty years.
To learn more, visit the State of the Resource page to view the report.
Solomon-Republican RAC members attended a presentation given by Dr. Preston Gilson of the Docking Institute on the Economic Report findings at Keith Sebelius Lake in Norton County, Kansas. The report, contracted by Norton City/County Economic Development and the Kansas Water Office, shows that Keith Sebelius Lake has nearly $5 million in economic impact in Norton County. The RAC is also actively recruiting for additional members, with four positions currently open on the committee.
An expiring contract with the Almena Irrigation District was renegotiated to include water savings within the reservoir as a partnership between the Irrigation District, the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism, and the Norton City/County Economic Development Group. The water savings in the new 10.5 year contract will build on the results of the contracted economic impact study at the Lake to maintain the nearly $5 million in economic impact to the city and county.
Irrigation remains a large water user in the region, as the five Bureau of Reclamation Reservoirs in the region provide 94 percent of the water used for irrigation. Sedimentation rates in these mid-state reservoirs are relatively low compared to eastern Kansas reservoirs. However, even the 670 acre-feet/year loss at Waconda Lake is significant. Current bathymetric surveys and education continue to be on the top of the wish list for this Region.
Current Focus Area-Sebelius Economic Impact Study