75th Anniversary
2020 marked 75 years of the Kansas Water Appropriations Act
"First in time, first in right"
Read more about the KWAA:
KWAA at 50
Read more about Kansas water law:
Kansas Water Law by KSRE

Division of Water Resources

The Division of Water Resources administers 30 laws and responsibilities including the Kansas Water Appropriation Act which governs how water is allocated and used; statutes regulating the construction of dams, levees and other changes to streams; the state's four interstate river compacts; as well as coordinating the national flood insurance program in Kansas.


  • Paper Filing Fee / Online support options: Information about the $20 per water right paper filing fee that will be applied to 2018 water use reporting.
  • Quivira: Information about the investigation of the impairment complaint filed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on behalf of the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. 
  • Hays R9: Information about the City of Hays' applications to KDA-DWR for water right changes and water transfer of the R9 Ranch.
  • Water Conservation Area (WCA): Information about WCAs and active or pending WCA plans. 
  • Local Enhanced Management Area (LEMA): Information about LEMAs including the GMD No. 4 District-wide LEMA, the Sheridan County 6 LEMA and the proposed GMD No. 5 Rattlesnake/Quivira LEMA.
  • Wichita ASR: Information about the City's request for changes to the conditions associated with the Phase II Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project.
  • Kickapoo Water Right: Information on the Kickapoo Indian Reservation Water Right Settlement Agreement.
  • Republican River CompactInformation on the latest resolutions and annual meetings between Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska on this compact.
  • Multi-Year Flex Accounts (MYFAs)
  • DWR Approved Meter List: Current list of approved water flowmeters, forms and instructions.
  • Minimum Desirable Streamflow (MDS): Streams subject to and currently under MDS administration.
If you need to speak with someone in person, please contact the appropriate field office to schedule an appointment. KDA field offices serve water users statewide. Each office is managed by a water commissioner, who is the chief engineer's agent, and each is staffed with employees familiar with local water issues.

Topeka/Parsons   785-296-5733       
Stafford   620-234-5311
Stockton   785-425-6787
Garden City   620-276-2901
or 620-765-7110

Division of Water Resources in the News

GMD 4 Approves Plan for Water Conservation in Northwest Kansas

This spring will see the first district-wide Local Enhanced Management Area, or LEMA, in place in Kansas, as Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District 4’s LEMA plan has been approved and will be effective for the period 2018-2022.

This spring will see the first district-wide Local Enhanced Management Area, or LEMA, in place in Kansas, as Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District 4’s LEMA plan has been approved and will be effective for the period 2018-2022. On Thursday, March 1, the board of directors for GMD 4 in northwest Kansas voted unanimously to approve the chief engineer’s proposed modifications to their LEMA proposal. GMD 4 includes all or parts of 10 counties and covers just over 3 million acres in northwest Kansas.

A LEMA is a tool that allows GMDs to set goals and control measures to aid in water conservation, at the approval of the chief engineer. One of the guiding principles of the state’s Water Vision is that locally driven solutions have the highest opportunity for long-term success, and LEMAs were created to give local stakeholders a tool to act on their shared commitment to ensuring a reliable water supply. This region’s priority goal within the Water Vision was to develop and adopt a water conservation plan that provides maximum flexibility while reducing overall actual use in declining areas, in concert with GMD 4, to extend the aquifer life and long-term economic well-being of the region.

GMD 4 submitted its LEMA proposal to the chief engineer of the Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Water Resources in June 2017, with the goal of reducing decline rates and extending the life of the Ogallala Aquifer in northwest Kansas. The LEMA sets water right allocations in townships of the district based on the rate of decline, and establishes enhanced compliance guidelines. Areas with the greatest rate of decline in the aquifer have the most significant restrictions; townships showing little to no decline will not be affected. GMD 4 will host educational meetings over the next few weeks to help clarify how the LEMA’s restrictions will affect water users.

After an extended public hearing process, the chief engineer returned the proposal to the GMD 4 board with modifications in late February, and the modified proposal was accepted by the board. The final step in the process is for the chief engineer to issue an order of designation, which is anticipated by mid-April.

The GMD 4 LEMA will be the second LEMA in Kansas, and was motivated by the notable successes achieved by the first LEMA. The Sheridan 6 LEMA within GMD 4 was established in 2013 with the goal of reducing water use by 20 percent. In 2017, new data collected showed that indeed the 99-square-mile area included in the LEMA has seen notable reductions in the rate of water-level decline. In fact, in the decade prior to the establishment of the LEMA, the rate of decline in the area was about 23 inches per year; in the first three years of the LEMA, the rate of decline was reduced to a little under 5 inches per year. The Sheridan 6 LEMA has been extended for an additional five years.

For more information about the LEMA approval process, go to For specific questions about the GMD 4 LEMA, call the GMD office at 785-462-3915.

DWR Index

Questions about the Division of Water Resources 

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