Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kansas Water Right Overpump Policy

Every water right in Kansas is limited to a maximum amount of water per year - depending on what the intended use is and how much was certified through actual use during the right's perfection period.  There are other limitations, too, but my point here is only so much water is authorized to be pumped in any calendar year.  So, what happens if the water right is overpumped?

Well, as it turns out there is a progression of penalties for overpumping, which are:

1st offense:  The state regulatory agency - Division of Water Resources (DWR) - will send out a notice of noncompliance, stating that your authorized quantity was exceeded. This notice is permanently placed in the action trail of the water right.

2nd offense:  DWR can issue a fine up to $500 and reduce your water right the following year by the same amount you overpumped. 

3rd offense:  DWR can issue a fine up to $500 a day for each day you overpumped, and reduce the right the following year by twice the amount overpumped. 

4th offense:  Could result in a one year suspension of the water right, which means you will not be able to use that authorization at all the following year.

5th offense: The water right could be revoked.

A couple of points need to be made here.  First, while it appears that this is a 3-5 year process before the real regulation hits, it isn't necessarily so.  The procedure is designed so that each "next offense" can occur the next week in the same year if the overpumping continues.  So, if you're notified that you've overpumped, you need to stop pumping right then.  Secondly, every well is metered, and the operation of the flow meter is very important - so maintain it well.  Thirdly, this procedure applies whether you overpump by 1 AF or 100 AF.  Monitor your water use closely if you're approaching your annual appropriation limit.  Questions?


  1. pump all the water you want in gmd 4 there are no limits

    1. Anonymous: You sound like you are speaking from experience. Is this the case? In any event, there are limits on water rights and pumping in GMD 4, and everywhere else in Kansas for that matter. Whether your comment is tongue-in-cheek or not, you are providing erroneous information by it. If you have credible information to the contrary, please consider providing it. Thanks for visiting. WAB