Drought Causes Need of New State Water Program

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) A new state program that gives irrigators flexibility in managing their water allocations while also encouraging conservation has about 750 participants.

The program was created last year by the Kansas Legislature to conserve the future of the Ogallala Aquifer.

The Hutchinson News reports that the multi-year flex account program allows irrigators to use more water during drought years. They can manage their water rights over five years, which helps the state’s aquifers recover during years with more moisture.

Kansas Department of Agriculture issued about 2,300 drought emergency term permits during last year’s drought that allowed irrigators to pump 2012 water allotments to save their crops.

Irrigators who enrolled in the flex account program by the Oct. 1 deadline were forgiven their overuse of water from last year.