Kansas Seeking Solution to Water Needs of Farmers, Refuge

Officials are trying to hammer out a deal to address competing water needs of south-central Kansas irrigators and a national wildlife refuge that’s lost considerable water to them.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which operates the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, has been asking Kansas for years to address the fact that hundreds of area farmers have been using water for irrigation that the refuge has prevailing rights to use.

An area water manager says reducing access for farmers who are already dealing with limited water raises considerable concern about the economic impact on families and communities.

Federal, state and local stakeholders say they’re hopeful a solution can be reached that would work for the refuge and irrigators.