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Energy and Environment

Voters Reject Proposal To Reduce Irrigation Pumping From The Ogallala Aquifer

A proposal to curtail irrigation pumping from the Ogallala Aquifer has been rejected by voters in a western Kansas groundwater management district.

The proposed creation of a Local Enhanced Management Area was defeated 173-158 in a recent vote by water rights holders and property owners in the five-county district.

A 2012 Kansas law provides for creation of such management areas specifically to extend the life of the aquifer. The board of Groundwater Management District No. 1 asked voters to approve a six-year plan to reduce pumping for irrigation by 20 percent.

The proposal won in Lane, Scott and Wichita counties but lost in Greeley and Wallace counties.

Farmers in northwest Kansas' Sheridan and Thomas counties established the state's first Local Enhanced Management Area last year.