Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Something "Good" to Say

Lest we be accused of continually harping, I'm going to "accentuate the positive" now - Kansas' cooperative ethic toward dealing with issues, problems and solutions. 

Our state by design has an abundance of local governments, boards, authorities, commissions, etc.  There are in fact just over 3,880 such units in the state involved in every aspect of activity from planning to management to government.  Just in water resources there are groundwater management districts, rural water districts, public wholesale water supply districts, water assurance districts, watershed districts and several others.  It's safe to say that Kansas has always been quick to support local involvement.  Some say to a fault.

But in water, the many working local entities seem to get along pretty well with the state agencies.  Within the last several years we (GMD 4) has been able to borrow state personnel on two occassions.  Brownie Wilson with the Kansas Geological Survey was loaned to us for 2 days to install, organize and teach us ArcView GIS - a really important application for our local GMD.  Last month, the division of water resources loaned us Andy Lyon, a modeler on staff, for another 2-day stint to install and teach us how to use the Modflow model we have been developing together along with the Kansas Water office and the federal Bureau of Reclamation.  DWR has also been really good about assisting us with regulation writing for our local programs.  Can't tell you how good it is that these agencies provide this level of support.

The Kansas Water Office director Tracy Streeter attended one of our Alliance planning sessions and took it upon himself to locate some engineering study funding to assist.  Several on his staff, particularly Susan Stover, have also been very cooperative and supportive.  We don't always see eye-to-eye, but locals and state government rarely do.

Looking back over the last decade or so, I really think the cooperative activities in Kansas have actually outnumbered the contentious ones by a considerable margin.  This is a good thing because working in water is hard enough without having serious philosophical and policy differences to wrangle over too.

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