Well, the decision has been made to offer drought relief to certain Kansas water right owners. Kansas Drought Policy - DWR There are two options: 1) the Multi-year flex account (MFA - covered in part 1 of this issue (here)); or 2) a two-year term permit that basically lets the water right holder borrow against his or her next years water right for any over pumpage this year.
First of all, only water rights in agricultural drought disaster declaration areas are eligible. These Counties are as of today are (in darkest rust color on map):
Barber, Barton, Butler, Clark, Comanche, Cowley, Edwards, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Harper, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kingman, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Meade, Morton, Ness, Norton, Phillips, Reno, Rice, Russell, Sedgwick, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Thomas, Trego, Wallace and Wichita Counties.
Moreover, this is a one-time offer. Users will agree to reduce next years authorized quantity by the same amount this year's use is exceeded. Applicants must file on or before December 31, 2011. And water rights in established Intensive Groundwater Use Control Areas or that have any enforcement sanction against them for 2011 are not eligible. If interested, use the link above to see all the program details and to access any filing forms needed for either option.
We have producers in all stages of drought damages. If you have not been able to keep up with the water needs of the crop and its already burnt up or beyond responding to water, the term permit option is not in your best interest. The longer term MFA may be, but take a careful look at it before you jump in. If the additional irrigation water will save your current crop, then by all means you should consider one of these offerings. Filing fees will be based on the total, 2-year term permit, but these are not excessive.
If you do use either program, make sure you understand the new terms and limits of your water right and carefully plan on staying within these limits. There'll likely be more on this topic later.