Kansas – DWR Finds No Well Interference at Impairment Investigation in Harvey County

On Jan. 28, DWR finalized its report for an impairment investigation in rural Harvey County. This is the first groundwater impairment investigation to be completed since the rules and regulations were amended in October 2010.

The owner and operator of an irrigation well in Harvey County, Water Right File No. 41,475, filed this impairment complaint on July 1, 2009. Citing a significant reduction to his historical pumping rate, the owner alleged his well was being impaired by pumping the neighboring junior irrigation well to the north, Water Right File No. 47,110. On July 13, 2009, DWR staff instrumented the owner’s well and neighboring irrigation well with water level sensors to monitor the depths to water over time. Monitoring occurred until after the irrigation season of 2010 was finished. When the neighboring irrigation well was turned on and off during the irrigation season, DWR staff did not observe any corresponding changes in water level at the complainant’s well. DWR staff also read water meters at these wells on four occasions and did not observe well-to-well interference on those occasions either.

Right: A diagram from the impairment report shows a lack of correlation between pumping at a neighboring well and water level changes at the complainant’s well. (Click to enlarge image)

In December 2010, DWR staff completed an initial report of the investigation documenting a lack of discernable well-to-well interference. The agency provided notice of the initial report to the complainant, to Equus Beds Groundwater Management District No. 2 (since the owner’s water right is located within the boundaries of the district), and to the owner of the neighboring irrigation well. Staff posted the report on DWR’s impairment investigations website in accordance with the amended regulation, providing a formal opportunity for comments to be submitted to the chief engineer through the close of business on January 28, 2011. Since no comments were received, the initial report has become the final report.

This is the first impairment investigation to be concluded under K.A.R. 5-4-1 as amended on October 29, 2010. As a result, DWR provided a more formalized opportunity for the complainant, other potentially affected parties, and the groundwater management district to submit comments (although none did). However, this impairment investigation was nearly completed when the rules and regulations were amended, so this complaint was not subject to new requirements for the complainant to demonstrate adequacy of their well and pump equipment.

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