By MIKE CORN
The Kansas Water Office is bringing its 50-year water vision team to Hays in early March to talk about where Hays residents want the status of water to be in 50 years.
It's a call that was issued by Gov. Sam Brownback during the annual conference on water.
And it's the first general session being scheduled by the water office, in charge of water planning for the state.
Dozens of meetings already have been conducted throughout Kansas in recent weeks, but all of them have been directed at stakeholder groups, such as irrigators.
The lack of general meetings first was brought up by The Hays Daily News in discussions with Brownback and Tracy Streeter, KWO director.
The meeting was scheduled in Hays because the community is generally considered a leader in water conservation and efficiency.
It's a meeting that will provide city and county officials as well as area residents the chance to share their priorities with the vision team.
The vision team includes representatives from the KWO and the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
"The drought over the past three years has brought water issues to the forefront and Kansas must plan for the future now," Streeter said. "This region has done a nice job of developing regional water supplies and identifying opportunities for new sources of water. We want all Kansans to be part of Kansas' water solution and look forward to working with this region."
Throughout the winter and spring of 2014, the Visioning Team is conducting meetings with stakeholders throughout the state representing all uses of water. Feedback gained from these meetings will serve the basis of the draft Vision for the Future of Water in Kansas. That draft document is scheduled to be put together this spring.
The Hays meeting is set for 10 a.m. March 10 at Sternberg Museum of Natural History.
A similar meeting is set for 9:30 a.m. March 13 at the regular meeting of the Smoky Hill-Saline Basin Advisory Committee at the Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau.
That group provides input for the state's water plan.
The focus of the meeting, however, will be on basin priorities in the state water plan.
The Solomon basin advisory committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. March 25 at the Rooks County Health Department in Stockton and the Upper Republican BAC will meet at 3 p.m. March 26 at the Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4 office in Colby.