In Kansas, the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) ensures natural resource protection and water resource management for the benefit of all Kansans. KDA is charged with the protection of Kansas’ natural and cultivated plants and the beneficial use of the state’s water.
The Division of Water Resources (DWR) of the KDA administers the Kansas Water Appropriation Act, statutes regulating the construction of dams and levees, and other changes to streams, the state’s four interstate river compacts, and the national flood insurance program in Kansas. The head of the DWR is the chief engineer.
The DWR generally consists of the following three programs, water appropriation program, water structures program, and water management services program. The water appropriation program, through a system of permits, reviews, and inspections manages the state’s water supplies. It also issues water rights, maintains data about water use, and administers water rights upon shortage of water. The water structures program inspects and regulates the safety of dams and monitors activities affecting the flow of rivers and streams. The water management services program administers the four interstate river compacts and the sub-basin resource management plan.
The mission of DWR is:
- to enhance present and future Kansans’ quality of life, economic opportunity, and safety through judicious regulation of water use and watercourses;
- to ensure adequate water supplies for communities, agriculture, industry, recreation, and other beneficial uses;
- to protect the state’s interests in interstate waters; and
- to continuously work with partners and stakeholders to improve the management and use of the state’s water supplies.
Further, the administration, planning, and regulation of the state’s parks, wildlife, and other natural resources are carried out by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP). The KDWP is administered and supervised by the secretary of wildlife and parks, who is appointed by the governor, with the consent of the senate[i].
[i] K.S.A. § 32-801