Water right holders who would like some leeway in how they use their water appropriation from year to year have until Oct. 10 to apply for a term permit that allows for more flexible water use over a five-year period that begins Jan. 1, 2008.
The multiyear flex account option is available only to vested and certified groundwater water right holders, and it is based on historical use rather than authorized quantities.
"This is one tool irrigators can use to deal with variations in precipitation from year to year," says David Barfield, acting chief engineer of the division of water resources.
Under the current flex account term permit, water users establish a five-year allotment based on an average of their actual use between 1992 and 2002, less a 10% conservation amount required by law and excluding any amount used in excess of the authorized quantity.
Once a water user's allotment is established, that base amount is drawn down each year by the amount of water that is used. Water use in any one year may exceed a water right holder's appropriated amount, and unlimited water use in a single year is possible, as long as overall use for the five-year period does not exceed the total allotment. Also, flex account use must not impair water use by others.
Staff in the division of water resources field offices are prepared to answer questions about flex accounts and to help water users complete the forms needed to establish them. Those offices are in Topeka (785) 296-3717; Garden City (620) 276-2901; Stafford (620) 234-5311; and Stockton (785) 425-6787.
Applications received after Oct. 10 will be accepted, but flex accounts for those individuals will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2009.
More information about flex accounts, including possible scenarios for their use, can be found at www.ksda.gov/appropriation/?cid=297.