BURLINGTON – Gov. Sam Brownback today directed the official dredging of the John Redmond Reservoir to begin.

At a ceremony commemorating the event, Brownback shared his thoughts for the necessity of this project.

“The drought of 2012 showed the critical importance of John Redmond Reservoir to the region,” said Brownback. “Dredging is a significant step in achieving the goals of our 50-Year Water Supply Vision as we work to preserve our state’s vital resource for future generations.”

Since 1964, John Redmond has lost an estimated 42 percent of its conservation pool storage capacity, 80 percent more than originally projected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the time of construction. While there have been many short and midterm alternatives to reduce sediment or increase storage through streambank restoration projects and a two-foot pool raise and reallocation, these efforts alone will not remedy the effects of the sedimentation rate.

“The Kansas Water Office's data indicated sedimentation would hinder our ability to meet the demand for water in the region," said Col. Richard A. Pratt, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District. "We are pleased with the cooperation between our agencies as we are committed to delivering enduring and essential water resource solutions to meet demand."

The Kansas Water Office has worked with the corps on numerous projects around the state but knew this project’s 408 Request was something that hadn’t been done before. After the extensive review of alternatives, KWO saw no other choice but to dredge in order to ensure the water supply.

“The water stored in John Redmond Reservoir is provided, through a contract with the KWO, to 19 communities, six industrial users and the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Station,” said KWO Director Tracy Streeter. “It is our job to ensure water supply is provided for our communities and businesses. As we looked forward to the future demand, we saw we fell short making this a top priority project for the past several years.”

Performing the dredge activity is Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. They were founded in 1890 and are the oldest and largest provider of dredging services in the United States. Dredging sediment from the conservation pool will restore water supply storage for the benefit of the regional water users. It will also restore the lost aquatic habitat for the benefit of public recreation and the lake ecosystem.

The ceremony marks the culmination of more than 10 years of collaboration and significant environmental and technical review. It also demonstrates what can be achieved with determination and foresight to ensure water supply for Kansans. The John Redmond project has paved the path for future storage restoration projects, not only in Kansas but across the nation.

For more information about the project visit www.kwo.org.