Kansas Department of Agriculture

An informational website has been set up specifically to provide access to public documents that relate to the Hays Water Transfer.  The website can be accessed here.

Cities of Hays and Russell Water Transfer

On Thursday, January 7, 2016, Hays and Russell filed an application to transfer up to 7,625.5 acre-feet of water from the R9 Ranch (locally know as the Circle K Ranch) in Edwards County for their municipal use.  The ranch is approximately 6,400 acres and is located south of Kinsley along the Arkansas River.  The ranch includes water rights in the amount of 7,727 acre feet.

The request would allow the transfer of up to 2.5 billion gallons per year or 6.8 million gallons per day.  According to the City of Hays website, the city used about 779 million gallons in 2012 and due to conservation measures that is about the same amount they used in 1970.  They are proposing to transfer 3.2 times more water than they are currently using.  They plan to sell the surplus water to other municipalities in the area.

The City of Hays purchased the Ranch in 1995 and later sold 18% of it to the City of Russell.  In June of 2015 the cities filed application to change the water rights on the Ranch from irrigation to municipal use.  Those applications are currently awaiting approval by the Chief Engineer at the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources. 

Kansas law requires that the Chief Engineer, The Director of the Kansas Water Office, and the Secretary of Health and Environment review and approve proposals to move 2,000 acre-feet of water or more per year a distance of 35 miles or more. 

Before a decision is made there will be a public hearing held in Kinsley.  Those interested in testifying will be required to sign up before the hearing.  For more information about the transfer, visit the links provided on the left-hand side of this page.

A fund has been set up to help pay for the cost of obtaining data and expert testimony as well as legal defense in opposition of the Water Transfer.  Donations can be sent to:

Pete Schartz, Treasurer
Mid-Ark Subbasin Water Protection Fund
PO Box 1346
Great Bend, KS 67537