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University Relations

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November 1, 2005
Contact: Brownie Wilson, Kansas Geological Survey, (785) 864-2118.

Information about water rights and water use now available online

LAWRENCE -- Information about water rights and water use will be now be available electronically on a new Web site launched this week by the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas.

The new system will allow the public to get up-to-date information about water rights and water usage. That data is maintained by the Kansas Department of Agriculture's Division of Water Resources, or DWR, the state program that grants water rights and collects water-use information.

"It allows us to provide useful, nearly real-time water-use data to those who need it," said Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Adrian Polansky. "This is an important step in the information age for the division of water resources, and it frees up staff to work on other priority projects."

A water right is the legal term for the right to use water in Kansas. Individuals generally do not need water rights for household wells, but water rights are required for irrigation, livestock watering and municipal, industrial and other uses.

The new database is called the Water Information Management and Analysis System (WIMAS) and is maintained by the Kansas Geological Survey (online at http://hercules.kgs.ku.edu/geohydro/wimas/index.cfm ). The database can be searched by location (that is, by section-township-range or by latitude/longitude), by county or by water-right number. For each water right, the database provides information about the location where water is diverted (from wells or from streams, for example), the amount of water the division has authorized to be used, the amount of water reported to be used and other information.

The DWR typically receives a number of water-rights information requests a year from consulting firms, other governmental agencies, municipalities, the public and students. While this information has been public in the past, the new system makes it electronically accessible from any place with a computer and access to the Internet.

"This Web site is an important step in making complex water-right information easily available to the people of Kansas in a form that can be easily understood," said Brownie Wilson, water-data manager at the Survey. "This Web site provides current information about the use of one of the state's most important natural resources."

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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