Gov. Sam Brownback deserves praise for his successful effort to change the state’s water policy. Brownback signed two bills today that end the “use it or lose it” practice on groundwater and that allow farmers and ranchers to average out their water use over a five-year period. The administration also has committed to making sure the new rules don’t restrict Wichita’s access to its underground water supply. But whether the new policies result in much reduction in water usage depends on the voluntary actions of irrigators. At the bill-signing ceremony in Garden City, Brownback urged those who have substantial water permits to “step up” on behalf of their children and grandchildren. “I ask you, if you have options, don’t use the water,” Brownback said. “Save it for them.”
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