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Kansas acts on rising drought concerns

Kansas acts on rising drought concerns

By Scout Nelson

Governor Laura Kelly has signed a new proclamation updating drought declarations for Kansas counties, reflecting the diverse water resource challenges across the state. This move comes as certain regions show improved conditions while others enter more severe drought stages.

Connie Owen, Director of the Kansas Water Office and Chair of the Governor’s Drought Response Team, recommended this action due to the rapid deterioration of central and western Kansas into severe and, in some places, extreme drought conditions. Eastern Kansas, however, has experienced significant relief since March.

The updated declaration categorizes four counties as being in an emergency state, 35 in a warning state, and 66 in a watch state. "Counties on watch are nearing potential water shortages, making careful monitoring and reduced water use essential," Owen noted.

With the arrival of summer, higher temperatures and reduced rainfall heighten the urgency of these measures. The Governor's Drought Response Team remains careful, continually updating their strategies based on the evolving conditions.

The interagency collaboration involving the Kansas Water Office, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, and the Kansas Division of Emergency Management allows for emergency water usage from specific state and federal reservoirs for affected counties.

Residents and local communities must seek approval from the Kansas Water Office before withdrawing water, ensuring they comply with necessary regulations.

This proclamation will remain in effect until further notice, either through an official ending declaration or an adjustment in drought status by Governor Kelly. The directive also mobilizes all state agencies to execute their respective drought response duties as outlined in the Governor’s Operations Plan.

Governor Kelly and her team are committed to minimizing the impact of drought on Kansas residents and will continue to adapt their response as needed to protect both the state's water resources and its agricultural interests.

Photo Credit -gettyimages-banksphotos

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Categories: Kansas, Government & Policy, Weather

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