Candidates during their 2018 political campaigns for Kansas governor and House of Representatives need to factually debate funding of the Kansas Water Plan projects. The 2018 Kansas Legislature continues years of grossly underfunding the plan projects as unresolved water issues continue to increase.

Kansas voters can stimulate debate by reminding candidates of the state’s long-term Water Vision: “Kansans act on a shared commitment to have the water resources necessary to support the state’s social, economic and natural resource needs for current and future generations.” To realize the Vision and to enable the 14 regions in Kansas to achieve their Vision-supporting water goals, the candidates need to “act on a shared commitment” to obtain adequate, stable and long-term funding of plan projects.

In 2017, the Kansas Blue Ribbon Funding Task Force for Water Resource Management came to the consensus that roughly $55 million in annual funding is needed for full implementation of the vision. The Task force recommended one-tenth of 1 percent of the existing statewide sales tax be dedicated to implementation. That revenue source is unlikely given the continuing financial problems of Kansas state government.

Kansas water right holders have historically extracted free raw fresh water from Kansas lakes, reservoirs, rivers and aquifers. The annual $55 million to pay for the plan projects that realizes the vision can also be obtained by water right holders paying a fee for extracting water. Owners have paid a Kansas fee to extract crude petroleum and natural gas for years.

Kansas voters can act on their “shared commitment” by requesting candidates to debate $55 million funding of plan projects. Voters and candidates can obtain more water information by typing “Kansas Water Office” in the search box on their computers.

Let factual debate begin!

 

ALLYN LOCKNER

Topeka