Governor Laura Kelly’s Efforts to
Secure and Protect State’s Water Saves
Kansas Taxpayers More Than $30M

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced that, by paying off state debt on essential water storage ahead of schedule, her administration has saved Kansas taxpayers more than $30 million.  

“I believe in fiscal responsibility, and by paying down reservoir debt early, millions of dollars can now be directed toward things like reducing taxes, fully funding schools, and investing in law enforcement and infrastructure,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “These payments also help secure a reliable water supply for Kansas residents and businesses, now and for years to come.” 

The administration accomplished this through two water projects.  

First, in 2022, Governor Laura Kelly signed bipartisan Senate Bill 267, which included a payment of nearly $80 million in debt owed by the state to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for water supply storage in certain federal reservoirs in Kansas.  

The $80 million payment eliminated debt owed for Clinton Lake, Hillsdale Lake, and Big Hill Lake, and will also be able to help pay down additional debt owed for Perry Lake and Milford Lake. This investment in reservoir water supply storage will save Kansas approximately $27.6 million in interest payments that would have been made over the lifetime of these contracts.  

Second, as recommended by Governor Kelly for the FY 2022 budget, the Legislature agreed to pay $332.2 million in bonded debt off early, including the bond issued for the dredging project at John Redmond Reservoir, which restored water supply capacity needed for the operation of the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant. The state had been paying approximately $1.6 million each year against this debt.  

By paying off the John Redmond Reservoir debt approximately 8 years ahead of schedule, the state will save approximately $3.2 million in future interest payments. 

“This early paydown reflects responsible financial judgment,” Kansas Water Office Director Connie Owen said. “Taxpayers will receive a tremendous savings, as well as a more dependable water supply into the future.” 

The Kelly Administration has led the way in making water protection a top priority for Kansas. 

  • This year, Governor Kelly fully funded the State Water Plan Fund – a multi-agency effort to protect a reliable statewide water supply – for the first time in more than 14 yearsKansas water resource priorities benefiting from this investment include, but are not limited to:  

– Irrigation technology and education for agricultural water conservation of the Ogallala/High Plains Aquifer;  

– Water reuse and reclamation projects for dairies and feedyards,  

– Local-level adoption of Local Enhanced Management Areas (LEMAs) and Water Conservation Areas (WCAs),   

– Financial assistance supporting adoption of soil and water practices; and  

– Farmer-to-farmer education on soil health and other water conservation practices. 

  • This year, Governor Kelly’s Administration issued the first update of the Kansas Water Plan since 2009. The Kansas Water Plan is developed by the Kansas Water Office and approved by the Kansas Water Authority from input provided from state, federal, regional, and local partners.  
  • Through the efforts of Governor Kelly’s Administration, a water injection dredging (WID) demonstration project will now be able to take place at Tuttle Creek Lake to remove accumulated sediment that is decreasing the lake’s water supply storage capacity which helps to serve over 800,000 Kansans. Planning efforts for this demonstration, in partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers, are currently underway.