Could An Aqueduct from the Missouri River Help Preserve the Ogallala Aquifer and SW Kansas Life?

Oct 27, 2013

The Kansas Aqueduct route, proposed in the 1982 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study, would have drawn water from the Missouri River and pumped it 600 kilometers (375 miles) uphill to the western plains. Neither reservoir shown on the map exists; both were part of the aqueduct project.
Credit Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District

State officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are re-evaluating a seminal 1982 federal water supply study that proposed transporting billions of gallons annually from the Missouri River to farms 375 miles away stated a recent article in Circle of Blue.  

The new study will begin this year, and will be completed in 2015.  The Kansas Aqueduct is one of four projects evaluated 31 years ago to provide water to high plains Kansas farms, and reduce the amount of water pumped from the Ogallala aquifer.

The cost of the study is $300,000 which will be shared equally by the state and the federal government according to Mark Rude, executive director of the Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District.  Rude added that the region’s strong farm economy and the urgency of extending the Ogallala’s life as a source of water to agriculture make this a useful period to reconsider the Kansas Aqueduct.

 “The Kansas Aqueduct Project must be pursued while production income, property values and the economic system are in place to support the project,” Rude wrote in a June letter to state water officials.