It has been six months since Gov. Sam Brownback issued his challenge for development of a 50-year vision of the future of water in Kansas within a year.
At the halfway point, the team has held more than 140 meetings to gather input from city and county officials, irrigators, business leaders and ordinary citizens.
On April 11, the Water Vision Team met with the Kansas Water Authority to share what they have learned so far and conducted a workshop to define the major issues, priorities and ideas that will be used to develop a first draft of the 50-year Vision.
The team plans to begin a new series of public meetings in June to share the first draft and gather comment and direction for the next phases of development, said Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey.
Four major themes for the Vision have been identified as Water Management, Technology and Crop Varieties, Water Conservation and New Sources of Supply.
So far, there has been general agreement on some specific actions on each of the themes but significant obstacles remain to implementation, including the need to change laws at the federal level, the need to achieve a higher level of education, beginning with elementary school, the need to fund large infrastructure projects such as additional dams, reservoirs or an aqueduct and the likelihood that undertaking any major project will face opposition from someone and that lawsuits are likely to occur.
Still, as the photos in the slideshow illustrate, there is a strong need in Kansas to address water issues. Brownback, in calling for the Vision, emphasized that water is an essential ingredient to maintaining the economy of Kansas and a critical ingredient in any economic growth.