Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Is the NW Kansas GMD 4 closed down to new wells?

A: The Ogallala Aquifer is closed to new appropriations within GMD 4.  The Saline River and Upper Republican remain open at this time.

Q: Can I re-drill a well in GMD 4 under an existing water right?

A: Yes.  However, there are controls in place that restrict where the replacement well can be located.  Please contact the office if you need to re-drill a well. We can assist with the restrictions and paperwork required.

Q: In GMD 4 can I move my full water right between two existing wells?

A: Yes.  However, there are controls in place that restrict the movement of water rights between existing wells.  Every water right is unique.  Please contact the office if you would like to pursue this option.

Q: Can I keep the same well but change the acres I irrigate?

A: Yes.  A Change in Place of Use would be required.  The amount of acres you can change is restricted and the Base Acres for your water right will need to be determined first. 

Q: What happens if I over pump my water right?

A: GMD 4 reviews all water use reports and has for a number of years been notifying owners of overpumps and requesting that they contact the district to either confirm any mistakes in the report, or, to understand the limitations of their right if the report was accurate. To date, the GMD effort has been non-regulatory. DWR is also reviewing all water use reports, but can handle only a limited number of enforcement actions. They currently have an overpumping program for blatant and recurring violations, but the triggers change annually so at this time only the most blatant and the longest violations are being handled. If your overpump report triggers their program, the first time you will be required to meter and pay a visit to the state to discuss the water right and work on a plan to operate within the water right and probably be required to file monthly water use reports. Subsequent violations get more serious and can eventually lead to fines, suspension of the water right, or eventual forfeiture. DWR currently working with the GMD 4 Board on a new pilot program for overpumpers in GMD 4. The new program will start with a DWR Order to not overpump again for all water users meeting a multiple-criteria test - including having overpumped multiple times in the last 5 years (2000 - 2005) and having overpumped at least 15 acrefeet or more. This new program is still developing, but will go into effect in 2007.

Q: Do I need a permit for a domestic well in Kansas?

A: No. Domestic use (largely defined in FAQ #1 above) requires no water permit, but this water use IS a bona fide water right to the extent the water was put to beneficial use - with a priority date of its first use. The only requirement is that a licensed water well driller (in Kansas) be used to drill the well and that the water is not wasted. As a real water right, it is subject to impairment and to being impaired just like any other water right. It is recommended that the well be drilled such that it uses the entire aquifer. Personal records should be kept on the date of first use and the quantity of annual use thereafter, but need not be filed with the state. While not required, you can file for a domestic water permit, but this will require annual water use reports and perhaps other non-domestic water right requirements like metering.

Q: How do I qualify for a GMD 4 board position?

A: You must be an eligible voter and live within the county the board position represents.  To be an eligible voter, you must be at least 18 years old and own at least 40 acres of land inside the GMD that is not excluded from district assessment, or use at least 1 acre-foot of water inside the GMD annually. 

Q: In GMD 4 can I change the use type of my water right?

A: Yes. A Change in Use Made of Water needs to be filed.  The amount of water that can be converted to another use type is determined by the consumptive use.  Please contact the office for assistance with this.

Q: Are there exemptions for small, new water rights still available?

A: If the new water right is less than 15 acre-feet, meets well spacing regulations and the water is offset from an existing water right.   Other restrictions apply within K.A.R. 5-24-10.