Water Conservation Programs

(Updated February 4, 2019)

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

                               CREP pic1

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in Kansas is a federal/state partnership created for enhancing water conservation efforts along the Upper Arkansas River (UAR) corridor from Hamilton County to Rice County. The Upper Arkansas River CREP has been officially approved and operating for nine years.


          CREP map

The Upper Arkansas River CREP is a voluntary, incentive-based program allowing producers to enroll eligible irrigated acres in targeted areas for 14–15 year contracts with FSA, permanently retire the associated state water rights on the enrolled acres, and establish an approved land cover (typically a native grass) on the same acreage. The producer receives an annual rental payment, plus additional cost-share opportunities for specific conservation practices from FSA, plus an upfront incentive payment from DOC.


Eligible cropland conservation practices approved by FSA to meet the goals and objectives for this CREP project are as follows:

CP2 (Establishment of Permanent Native Grasses and Legumes) – up to 27,550 acres

CP4D (Permanent Wildlife Habitat, Non-easement) – up to 400 acres

CP9 (Shallow Water Areas for Wildlife) – up to 200 acres

CP21 (Filter Strips) – up to 100 acres

CP22 (Riparian Buffer) – up to 100 acres 

CP23/CP23A (Wetland Restoration, flood-plain & nonflood-plain) – 200 acres

Groundwater is the dominant source of water for all uses in the basin, and aquifer declines are a serious concern. Therefore, water conservation is the main management objective in the Upper Arkansas CREP. The program also provides other resource benefits including soil conservation, water quality protection, wildlife habitat enhancement, and energy savings. The majority of irrigated acres enrolled have been on highly erodible, sandhills soils that are unsuitable for dryland farming.

                                     CREP pic2

As of September 30, 2017, a total of 112 state CREP contracts on 18,659 acres have been approved by the State of Kansas (with the addition of 385 acres this year). These contracts have resulted in the permanent retirement of 37,999 acre-feet of annual water appropriation on 135 water rights from 166 wells. The contracts represent a total of $1,210,511 in state sign-up payments to producers over the past ten years.  These payments are matched by total annual producer rental payments from FSA totaling about $2,191,213 in FY2017.

On October 3, 2017, the maximum allowable CREP enrollment was raised from 7,237.5 acres to 10,000 acres per county.

Landowner Tom White visits with KDA's Gene McFall about drought impacts on his CREP grass stands

Landowner Tom White visits with KDA's Gene McFall about drought impacts on his CREP grass stands while Rick Rogers from NRCS and Mark Goudy from FSA share insights regarding strategies for meeting the challenging conditions in SW Kansas.

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Brochure

The following brochure is provided for the particular benefit of landowners who  might be interested in exploring the basic payment guidelines and policies of the project.  Additional information may be requested from the Division of Conservation.

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Performance Report

A project performance report is submitted annually to the USDA's Farm Service Agency and the Kansas Legislature as a condition of the program's authorization.  The program has been operating for nine years.  Past reports are available by contacting the Division of Conservation.

Water Transition Assistance Program


Water Right Transition Assistance Program Benefits Landowners and Water Resources

WTAP is a voluntary, incentive-based program that permanently retires privately held irrigation water rights in exchange for payment by the State of Kansas. It is intended to help restore aquifers and recover stream flows in critically depleted target areas. The 2012 Kansas Legislature extended WTAP until June 30, 2022 based on past results of the recent pilot project.

The target areas currently designated include Rattlesnake Creek Sub-basin, Prairie Dog Creek Basin, and six “High Priority Areas” of Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4.

WTAP bids cannot exceed $2,000 per acre-foot of the Historic Consumptive Water Use as calculated over the last ten years of actual annual water use of the water right(s) proposed for acceptance. Applications to accept partial water rights can also be considered. The award of WTAP grants for water right retirements is based on a competitive bidding process.

Applications which propose a financial contribution from a local entity may increase the priority of an application.


Water Right Transition Assistance Program Enrollment

The fall enrollment period begins October 1, 2017 and ends November 15, 2017.

WTAP Target Area Maps

WTAP VII - Rattlesnake Creek - Priority Areas - 2015

WTAP VII - Prairie Dog Creek - Priority Areas - 2015

WTAP VII - NW KS GMD 4 - HPA Areas - 2015

WTAP Annual Report

WTAP Forms

Statutes and Regulations