2024 Ogallala Aquifer Summit: Kansas Takes Significant Steps Towards Water Conservation and Sustainability

By Trish Svoboda

The 2024 Ogallala Aquifer Summit was assembled to address water conservation, a pressing issue in Kansas. Gov. Laura Kelly noted that the state has made significant strides in this area, including hiring a Senior Advisor on Water and creating a Water Subcabinet.

Two landmark bills were passed recently, one establishing a timeline for communities to develop water conservation strategies, and another allocating $35 million annually for five years to the State Water Plan.

“I’m encouraged by the progress we’ve made so far, but, as you know, there is so much more work to do. It’s crucial that we build on our progress – which is why a summit of this scope is so important. I’m grateful to everyone who’s here today because it is these types of forums that lead to lasting, meaningful reforms. Make no mistake—this is an issue that affects every Kansan, and we all have a responsibility to come together to find ways to address it. It’s not going to be easy, but the good news is, we are in a better position than we have ever been to get this done.”

Last year, The Kansas Water Authority rejected the planned depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer for the first time. Gov. Kelly said this was a step in the right direction and to stay on track the new Kansas Water Institute at Kansas State University will leverage resources to develop solutions to water challenges. She emphasized that it’s crucial at this moment to ensure the sustainability of water resources in Western Kansas and across the entire state. Unified and planned actions can have positive impacts on the economy and communities, both now and in the future.

“By the end of my time in office, I want to have strong, regional plans in place that will ensure the stability of the Ogallala Aquifer for years to come.” said Gov. Kelly.

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