Water Conservation Areas (WCAs)

In the past, conserving Kansas groundwater resources have occurred through the establishment of Intensive Groundwater Use Control Areas (IGUCAs) and Local Enhanced Management Areas (LEMAs). Through the development of a 50-year water vision for the State of Kansas, the Water Vision Team met with more than 13,000 Kansans and consistently heard a call for additional conservation tools that were more flexible than existing conservation options.

In April 2015, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed into law a bill allowing for Water Conservation Areas (WCAs), a simple, streamlined and flexible tool that allows any water right owner or group of owners the opportunity to develop a management plan to reduce withdrawals in an effort to extend the usable life of the Ogallala-High Plains Aquifer.

While the underlying goals of WCAs, LEMAs and IGUCAs are similar – to conserve water resources and extend the usable life of the aquifer – WCAs have the benefit of greater flexibility and less red tape. 

WCA Plans and Agreements

 WCA Name   County  WCA Plan   WCA Consent Agreement/Order   Date Approved  
 Franklin Family    Sherman    Franklin Family WCA Plan   Franklin Family Consent Agreement/Order  01/12/2016
 Westside Dairy  Stanton  Westside Dairy WCA Plan   Westside Dairy Consent Agreement/Order  02/23/2016

WCA Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Water Conservation Area?

  • What are the benefits to forming a Water Conservation Area?

  • Who is eligible to form a Water Conservation Area?

  • How do I form a Water Conservation Area?

  • What tools and assistance are available if I am interested in forming a Water Conservation Area?

  • What information needs to be included in a proposal to form a Water Conservation Area?

  • How is the land area included in an enrolled Water Conservation Area determined?

  • How much conservation is required to be eligible for a Water Conservation Area (WCA)? And, are there requirements for the length of time for enrolling in a WCA?

  • How is a Water Conservation Area different from a Local Enhanced Management Area?

  • What changes may be made if I form a Water Conservation Area and later a Local Enhanced Management Area or Intensive Groundwater User Control Area (IGUCA) is formed?

  • What is meant by giving due consideration to past voluntary measures in forming a Water Conservation Area?

  • I am interested in forming a Water Conservation Area, how long will it take to complete the process?

  • Is there a fee associated for enrolling in a Water Conservation Area?

  • What level of monitoring, reporting and compliance and enforcement are required if I enroll in a WCA?

  • What are the consequences if one of the water right owners within a WCA does not comply?

  • Will participating in a WCA impact my water right?

  • Can I sell my water right while enrolled in a WCA?

  • I am currently enrolled in a Multi-Year Flex Account (MYFA). Can I enroll the same water right(s) in a WCA? And, if I enroll in a WCA, could I enroll in a MYFA at a later date?

  • I am a water right holder adjacent to a Water Conservation Area (WCA). I am not interested in participating in the WCA. Will I be negatively impacted by the neighboring WCA?

  • If I enroll in a WCA, am I eligible for cost share for water saving technology (irrigation systems, soil moisture probes, etc.)?

  • If a water right holder has been unable to access his or her water, either because of the location of the point of diversion or declines in the water table, can the lack of use of that water be credited as conservation if enrolled in a WCA?

WCA Development Process

  • Pre-Process

  • Development and Approval

  • Post Order Process