Kansas governor declares entire state is in drought emergency

Gov. Brownback signed an executive order Wednesday declaring that all 105 counties are facing a drought emergency.

“While reservoirs and cities have been able to meet their communities’ needs so far, it is imperative citizens conserve water in every way they can,” Brownback said in a prepared statement. “Drought outlook indicates conditions are expected to continue or intensify for the state and we need increased cooperation going forward.”

The declaration authorizes the Kansas Water Office and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to use water from state fishing lakes if necessary.

“Our focus at this time is to ensure communities, livestock producers and farmers have the available resources they need,” said Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office and chairman of the Governor’s Drought Response Team, in a prepared statement.

Under terms of the declaration, small communities and producers will be allowed to pump water from certain state fishing lakes if they are in dire need of water, Streeter said.

State fishing lakes available for emergency withdrawals include Atchison, Barber, Brown, Bourbon, Butler, Chase, Clark, Crawford, Goodman, Jewell, Kingman, Leavenworth, Lyon, Pottawatomie #1, Pottawatomie #2, McPherson, Miami, Neosho, Osage, Ottawa, Saline, Scott, Shawnee, Sheridan, Washington, Wilson and Woodson. Mined pits can also be pumped.