Every Kansan depends on the state’s water supply.
Water in western Kansas and the future of the Ogallala Aquifer have long been concerns. The underground water supply has been drained at rates faster than nature can replenish it, mostly due to farm irrigation used to combat dry conditions.
Understandably, there’s been much focus on the quantity of water available throughout the state. The 50-year Kansas Water Vision spearheaded by former Gov. Sam Brownback became a blueprint to ensure the water supply is sufficient to meet growing needs.
Another critical consideration — water quality — too often receives short shrift, even as uranium and other contaminants tainted drinking water supplies in some places and led to immediate, costly fixes.
With much at stake in terms of water quantity and quality, more Kansans should consider being part of an effort to help guide the state.
The Kansas Water Office is seeking people interested in serving on one of 14 Regional Advisory Committees (RACs) established by the Kansas Water Authority (KWA). The RACs usually include producers involved in irrigation and others in agriculture, which makes sense, but there’s always room for other voices on the committees charged with advising the KWA on planning and implementation of water-related priorities.
Responsible water use isn’t just up to farmers, after all. Manufacturing and residential consumers also should embrace workable plans to encourage conservation and clean water supplies.
RAC members, with a key role in establishing water management policies for the state, will be asked to evaluate the past five years of the Vision plan. They’ll also be needed to help raise awareness of water issues and field input from residents of their respective regions.
The citizen advisers have been contributors for more than 30 years in Kansas. Anyone interested in becoming part of the important legacy through RAC membership may apply at kwo.ks.gov by May 31.
Economic growth and prosperity cannot happen without proper management of water — whether it’s in ensuring access to safe supplies or implementing strategies to conserve the precious resource. No Kansas community can afford to see its future dry up due to apathy.
As water affects everyone, Kansans from all walks of life should take advantage of the opportunity to help foster meaningful conversations on the state’s economic lifeblood.
Editorial by Topeka-Capital Journal