Minimum Desirable Streamflow

Minimum desirable streamflow (MDS) requirements were made part of the Kansas Water Appropriation Act by the Kansas Legislature to ensure base flows in certain streams to protect existing water rights and to meet in-stream water uses related to water quality, fish and wildlife and recreation. 

Minimum desirable streamflow MDS gage station locations.

MDS is currently being administered on the following streams:   

  • No streams are currently under MDS administration (0 permits or water rights)

The Division monitors 23 streams and rivers at 33 locations for minimum desirable streamflow. When flows drop below an established threshold, pumping restrictions are imposed on permits or water rights granted after the minimum desirable streamflow provision was made into law in 1984.  

All applications to appropriate water for beneficial use filed on or after April 12, 1984, are subject to any minimum desirable streamflow requirements identified and established pursuant to the following statutes: Any person who makes unlawful diversions of water, while an MDS order is in effect, may be subject to criminal and/or civil enforcement under the Kansas Water Appropriation Act, which may include the assessment of civil penalties of up to $1,000 per day of violation and modification or suspension of approved permit(s) or water right(s).
In order for administration to end, streamflow must remain above the MDS threshold on the affected stream for a period of at least 14 days, or appear likely to remain above MDS for the foreseeable future.

Related Links:

Minimum Desirable Streamflow in the Lower Republican River Basin   

Current Overview

As required by Kansas Administrative Regulation (K.A.R.) 5-15-4, Minimum Desirable Streamflow administration will occur in the Republican River basin when both of the following conditions have been met:
  • Streamflow has been below established MDS level for at least 7 consecutive days.
  • The streamflow trigger value set in K.A.R. 5-15-4 has also not been met for the preceding 60-day period.

The following graphs for Concordia and Clay Center plot the actual daily average flow value divided by the MDS value (dashed purple line) and the 150 percent value (1.50 as a solid purple line), representing the triggers outlined by K.A.R. 5-15-1(a)(1) and K.A.R. 5-15-4. 

Clay Center Republican River MDS Graph


*Gage readings may be affected by ice during winter months.

The 60-day criteria is computed as follows:
  1. Divide the mean daily flow for the day by the MDS value for the day. 
  2. Compute the average of the ratios computed in step one for the previous 60 days. 
The ratios described in step one have been computed for June 1 through July 30 (60 individual ratios). On July 31, the average of those 60 ratios is computed by summing the ratios and dividing by 60. If that average ratio is less than 1.5, the 60-day criteria for initiation of MDS administration has been met.
Related Links Contact