Kansas aqueduct would cost $18 billion


I’m guessing many Kansas farmers who want the damn government out of their bizness are the very same farmers who want the government to finance a hugely costly aqueduct / canal to send water to them. Indeed, we all mostly want the government out of our lives until we need it to do something for us.

The High Plains aquifer, which includes the Ogalala aquifer, supplies water to six states, including, and is stressed and over-used. The chart shows it is already in perilous shape. Farmers, in desperation, have revived a plan to build a huge aquifer to pump Missouri River water uphill 360 miles to Kansas. So what happens to downstream Missouri River users who rely on that water? And how would such a mammoth project be financed? No one knows.

Farm districts in western Kansas, which rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, a finite resource, for irrigation have dusted off and promoted the project, which was first analyzed in 1982 and is viewed as a lifeline for agriculture. The canal, which would actually stretch 420 miles but was analyzed according to 1982 specifications, would deliver between 900,000 acre-feet and 3.2 million acre-feet while lifting it a third of a mile in elevation.

One comment

  1. Mr. Morris, I appreciate your perspective because nowhere is the water situation tougher than California. This project proposes to harvest flows above navigation (some of which are negative value flood waters) for the benefit of all of Kansas. The Missouri River borders Kansas and there is unappropriated water available to Kansas.
    It is correct that western Kansas agriculture is a driving force behind this idea, but cities and industry would have to be consumers if there is any hope of the project being financially feasible. In Western Kansas exists one of the most successful agricultural infrastructures in the world and a major economic sector in Kansas, and groundwater irrigation is key to that success. But it is not sustainable and the nation and the world need food security. The US must look at long term, renewable water strategies to feed and secure our growing population. We owe it to future generations to consider all possibilities.

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