Water Officials Meet to Discuss Republican River Compact

Kansas, Colorado officials gather in Topeka.

Lead water and agriculture officials from Colorado and Kansas met Jan. 28 in Topeka, to discuss compliance activities relevant to the Republican River Compact.

The meeting was organized by Colorado's Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Harris Sherman and Commissioner of Agriculture John Stulp with Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Adrian Polansky and Secretary of Wildlife and Parks Mike Hayden. The meeting was to discuss strategies to address Colorado's current and future compliance with the Republican River Compact.

The Republican River is an interstate river system that provides water for irrigation, drinking water, recreation and other beneficial uses. It is governed by a 1943 interstate compact between Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska that allocates the basin's water supply. A 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision determined that groundwater pumping, to the extent that it reduces surface flow in the river, must be accounted for under the Republican River Compact. Each state is required to keep its use within its allocation.

The meeting began by reviewing compact compliance requirements and actions being taken or contemplated by Colorado. Both states agreed to seek a solution that would ensure that Colorado will meet its obligations under the compact, while minimizing any adverse impact on, and enhancing if possible, the social, economic and recreational benefits the river provides for the rural communities in the Republican River basin.

Both states recognize the importance and value of working together in an informal environment in order to avoid or minimize the need for formal enforcement proceedings.

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