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Letter to the editor: Fund the water fund

To the editor:

Every Kansan needs safe water. Our main water sources in Kansas are being depleted and contaminated. Thanks to the Kansas Water Office, Kansas Water Authority, K-State Department of Agriculture and USGS, among others, efforts are ongoing to overcome these problems. However, these projects must be funded for necessities like the purchase, installation, monitoring and maintenance of equipment and new technologies.

Way back in 1989, Kansas lawmakers passed a statute creating the state water fund to pay for programs to ensure that Kansans have safe water. The law spells out how the Water Fund is to be funded: It shall receive $6 million a year from the state general fund plus $2 million a year from the state’s share of lottery revenues. However, for the past several years, our governors refused to budget any dollars from the state general fund for the water fund, and former Gov. Brownback did the same in his current proposed budget.

Nonetheless, Lawrence Republican Tom Sloan, chair of the House Committee on Water and Environment, introduced a bill (HB 2528) this session that would amend the law to make all of the water fund’s statutory $8 million come from the state’s lottery revenues. This seems like a no-brainer proposition to me. But apparently lawmakers on the legislative budget committees are expected to again refuse to stray from the governor’s budget with its big fat $0 for the water fund.

To the executive branch and budget committee members, I say what the heck are you doing not following Kansas law and not funding the water fund? How about some transparency on who is making this decision and why?

Comments

Charles L. Bloss, Jr.

I agree with Tom Sloan, this should be funded by the KS lottery.

4 months ago

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P Allen Macfarlane

Sloan's committee on water problems in the state drafted a report that supported, among other things, water transfers from the Missouri River to reservoirs in western Kansas. If you haven't looked at a map recently, the water transfer would be entirely uphill (about 2,000 feet or more). That would require a large investment in energy to move that water uphill. The water is to be used by irrigators so they can continue to grow corn (primarily) while they continue to deplete the Ogallala portion of the High Plains aquifer. Corn requires 14 inches of water in order to produce at a minimum. Western Kansas gets 18 to 20 inches of precipitation on average. So, basically if such a plan were to be adopted by the Legislature, the added money from the Water Plan would go to this boondoggle. Taxpayers would be subsidizing farmers who continue to grow a water-intensive crop in a low precipitation part of the state. This is not sustainable.

4 months ago

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Leslie Prentice

I watched a presentation on and read the 2018 Kansas Water Authority Annual Report. It does not contain a word about a canal crossing the state. If you would like to know what the Kansas Water Office is doing and plans to do with its funding, go to kwo.ks.gov and read their 2018 report. It describes projects that include stream bank stabilization, reservoir dredging, harmful algae research and prevention, contamination remediation, water conservation, water tech farms along with many other promising programs as well as testing and research to determine which projects to implement.

4 months ago

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Bill Pasquel

Leslie Prentice, Topeka...Wha?? Hey Les, can you start with not funding/flooding the Kaw River with Topeka, well, you know, Topeka? Thanks in advance.

4 months ago

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Michael Kort

The Water Fund should be used to stabilize creek banks that erode and send silt into the bottoms of our reservors reducing their holding pools .

The Water Fund should be used to dredge the bottom of reservoirs of accumulated silting .

The building of an uphill canal hundreds of miles long to western Kansas to irrigate corn crops was nothing but a Brownback Pre Election Promise Scam that melted as soon as he was re elected .

4 months ago

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Beverly Stauffer

I'm in favor of water quality research and conservation measures, to be sure. However, when we passed the law that created the lottery, one of the promises that was made was that funds from it would go to education. Looks like that is not happening, probably for the same reasons the water fund is not full. Legislators keep grabbing those funds for other things.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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