July 2018

Surplus Water is Available from Federal
in Kansas

n April 2018, the Kansas Water

Authority (KWA) met in Lenexa,

Kansas. The KWA meets about five

or six times a year to consider

legislation to propose to the legislature,

to make recommendations to state

agencies regarding water resources, to

approve policy changes proposed by

the Kansas Water Office (KWO)

concerning the pricing of water for sale

pursuant to the State Water Plan

Storage Act, etc. It was at this meeting

that the Water Authority set the Water

Marketing Program Variable Rate at

40.5 cents per 1,000 gallons for 2019. 

An article that explains the Kansas Water Marketing

Program is needed, and will appear in this publication in the

future. In the meantime, to begin an understanding of the

importance of this function of state government, the

following is presented.

One part of this program is the annual “disposal” of

surplus water in storage. Surplus water is defined as waters

in the conservation water supply capacity in the federal

reservoirs committed to the state, but not required to satisfy

any of the existing long-term contracts. Individuals can

contract with the Kansas Water Office on an annual basis for

at least the same price as the Marketing Variable Rate for an

amount of water that does not exceed the calculated 10

percent yield capacity of the storage. The Kansas Water

Office prepares a Surplus Water Report annually for

approval by the Kansas Water Authority at the last meeting

of every calendar year. This report is available on the

Kansas Water Office web site, www.kwo.org.

Unfortunately, scale is a problem for the efficient disposal

of surplus water. Individuals (and cities, industries, water

districts, etc.) have long-term needs to water and in most

instances do not have the flexibility to decide to use or not

use water considered to be surplus. Usually the

infrastructure to move and treat surface water has fixed

costs that need a dependable supply.

The rate for surplus water is to be the same as the rate for

long-term contracts if the surplus is used to maintain public

health. If the surplus water is used for a purpose that does

not include the maintenance of public health, it can be

higher. In 2008 and 2009, the contract rate was $0.18516 per

1,000 gallons. For 2019, the rate is up 219 percent in ten

years to $0.405 per 1,000 gallons. Increases in the rate since

2017 have been 3.16 percent and 3.32 percent per year,


For 2018, the Kansas Water Office has determined the

amount of surplus water available from the 13 federal

reservoirs in which the state has conservation water supply

capacity. The accompanying table from the surplus water

report lists the reservoirs and the quantities available.

Note that no surplus water is available from Clinton,

Hillsdale, Milford and Perry Reservoirs in 2018. Tuttle

Creek Reservoir has 19,745 acre-feet of water available.

The total amount of surplus water for 2018 is 30,125 acre


Additional information about the Kansas Water Marketing

Program will be presented in the future. A past article

regarding the Kansas Water Assurance Districts was

published in 2002 and can be accessed at




The peak year for surplus water contracts occurred in

2012, when 11 contracts were signed. One contract was for

industrial use; the other ten were for irrigation. The number

of signed contracts declined every year since then, with

none being signed in 2016. Last year, one irrigation use

contract was signed to directly pump water from the Marion

Reservoir Conservation Pool.