Multi-year flex accounts can help manage water use in drought years
As the drought continues to intensify across Kansas, many farmers have struggled to keep their crops alive amid the scarce water supply. The Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Water Resources encourages water right owners to be alert to their water use for 2022 and consider applying for a multi-year flex account if they believe they may exceed their annual water use allocation for this year.
Rather than operating on an annual basis with the quantity of water defined by the water right, a MYFA temporarily replaces the water right with a 5-year quantity to be used as needed in response to growing season conditions. This option has been available to water users since 2012, providing flexibility by allowing the water right holder to exceed their annual authorized quantity in any year but restricts total pumping over the 5-year period.
To sign up for a MYFA that will include the 2022 pumping season, water right owners should contact or go to their regional KDA-DWR field office before the end of the year. An application must be filed on or before Dec. 31 of the first year of the MYFA term for which the application is being made.
A MYFA is just one of the tools that farmers can use in their efforts to best manage their water. In addition to the flexibility provided by the MYFA option, farmers are also encouraged to consider water conservation practices such as drought-tolerant crop varieties, cropping patterns, water conservation areas, and irrigation technologies such as soil moisture probes, mobile drip irrigation systems, remote monitoring systems and more. By implementing the water conservation tools available, producers can work together to extend the long-term viability of the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies water to the western third of the state.
KDA-DWR oversees water appropriation, including annual water use affiliated with water rights. For more information about the benefits of a MYFA and how to apply, go to www.agriculture.ks.gov/MYFA or call your regional field office or the main KDA-DWR office at 785-564-6640.