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Western Kansas Looks To Missouri River For Water

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The Kansas Water Office is preparing to take a fresh look at the idea of transferring surplus Missouri River Water to Western Kansas, where the underground aquifer is being rapidly depleted. 

The study will update a 1982 feasibility study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Their report proposed a 360-mile canal with 16 pump stations to propel the water uphill to western Kansas. They estimated the cost at around $8 billion in 1977. 

Kansas Water Office Director Tracy Streeter used to think the concept was not realistic. Now he thinks it’s worth a closer look.

“I just think it’s important that Kansas look at its water resources, and get outside the box here.  So that’s what we hope to do is try to lay it all out,” says Streeter. “Here’s what it costs. If we can figure out a way to afford it, and there’s enough stakeholders that are interested in investing in it, what are the other barriers that we have to encounter?”

The study will cost up to $300,000 with half the cost possibly being paid by the Corps of Engineers. 

Streeter hopes the study can be finished in 12-18 months.  

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