Pumping Fines in Question

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) A state lawmaker says it may be time for Kansas to consider stricter penalties for irrigators who pump beyond their allotted amount of water.

Rep. Joe Seiwert told the Special Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources he’s received several letters from irrigators who are trying to follow state water conservation rules and are angry about neighbors who flout those rules.

Seiwert says it may be time for tougher enforcement and higher penalties, similar to efforts decades ago to make drunken driving a more serious crime.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Rep. Sharon Schwartz urges caution, saying not everyone who over pumps does it intentionally.

Jackie McClaskey, acting secretary of the state Department of Agriculture, says the department is looking into new penalties for water conservation violations.