Governor Kelly Ceremonially Signs Pair of Bills Investing in, Protecting Water Resources

MOUNDRIDGE – Governor Laura Kelly today visited R&E Goering Farms in Moundridge, where she ceremonially signed House Bill 2279 and Senate Substitute for House Bill 2302. The bipartisan bills fully fund the State Water Plan and create new grants for water infrastructure projects.

“Saving the critical water sources that power the agriculture industry—the backbone of our state economy—and securing a reliable, safe water supply for residents and businesses across Kansas for years to come are nonpartisan issues,” said Governor Kelly. “There is more to be done, but these bills represent an important step forward in that fight by providing needed funding and clear policies around water management works towards ensuring a safe, sustainable water supply for generations of Kansans to come.

In 2022, Governor Kelly fully funded the State Water Plan for the first time since 2008. Senate Substitute for House Bill 2302 represents a significant increase in funding for water, adding $18 million on top of the annual $8 million for the State Water Plan and $17 million for the two grant funds. In total, the bill designates an additional $35 million in funding to protect essential water resources. The bill includes that it is legislative intent to continue this funding through 2027.

“We have been working with the Kansas Water Office and local vendors for the last 4 years to evaluate different irrigation technologies and evaluate their effectiveness in an on farm environment,” said Ryan Goering, of R&E Goering Farms, LLC. “The results of this work indicate new technologies can reduce water consumption and reduce energy use while sustaining yields. The increased funding will allow these efforts to expand and accelerate the awareness and adoption of water conserving technologies by farmers.”

House Bill 2279 requires Kansas’ five Groundwater Management Districts to submit annual reports to the Kansas Legislature with updated water conservation and stabilization plans to the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

The reports to the Legislature will outline expenditures for water conservation efforts and stabilization of agricultural consumption. A Groundwater Management District oversees the management of groundwater resources, conservation, and use in five regions of the state with significant aquifer storage and use.

“We must protect a safe and secure water supply for all Kansans,” Connie Owen, Director of the Kansas Water Office, said. “With these two bills, we demonstrate our commitment to enhanced investment in solving water challenges of all kinds and our specific dedication to addressing the depletion of the High Plains Aquifer. Our children, grandchildren, and all future generations of Kansans need us to get this right. We are now on the right track.”

Photos from the ceremonial bill signing for media use can be found below.