Walnut Creek IGUCA

Walnut Creek IGUCAIn response to declining groundwater levels and lack of sufficient streamflow within the Walnut Creek Basin to satisfy senior surface water rights, the chief engineer initiated the IGUCA process in March 1990. Hearings were held in Great Bend on December 4 through 7, 1990, January 3 and 4, February 5 through 8, March 19 through 22 and 26 through 28, 1991 and in Topeka on April 18, 1991, and the IGUCA order was issued in January, 1992. A request for partial stay was filed on February 19, 1992, a supplemental order was issued in December 1996, an amended order was issued in June 1998 and another supplemental order was issued in June 2001. 

Pursuant to K.A.R. 5-20-2, each of the eight IGUCA orders in place before July 1, 2008 must be reviewed in a process that includes a public hearing conducted by the chief engineer. While a brief summary of the Walnut Creek IGUCA has been provided below, the actual IGUCA order is also available and should be referred to for detailed conclusions and provisions.


March 13, 1990: IGUCA proceedings initiated by the chief engineer

  • The Division completed a report titled, "Availability of Water in Walnut Creek, its Tributaries, their Valley Alluviums, and Hydraulically Connected Aquifers", September 1989
  • Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks requested the chief engineer to initiate proceedings in areas that affect the water right for Cheyenne Bottoms
  • Groundwater levels appeared to be declining or had declined excessively, rate of withdrawal of groundwater equaled or exceeded rate of recharge and conditions existed which required regulation in the public interest
  • Big Bend GMD No. 5 requested the chief engineer initiate proceedings in Walnut Creek in Barton County.

December 1990 - April 1991: Public hearings

  • A formal public hearings was held on December 4, 1990. Subsequent hearings were held on December 5-7, 1990; January 3-4, 1991; February 5-8; March 19-22 and 26-28; and April 18, 1991 in Great Bend, Kansas.

January 29, 1992: IGUCA Order issued

  • Closed the area to further appropriations
  • Required installation of flowmeters
  • Required water users to file water use reports
  • Set five-year allocations
  • Determined long-term sustainable yield to be 22,700 acre-feet
  • Defined reasonable quantities based on priority and maximum acres irrigated between 1985 and 1990
  • Municipal, non-vested allocated 1989 population and reasonable per capita use or the quantity authorized, whichever is less
  • Non-vested for all other types of use are allocated 90% of maximum use reported from 1985 to 1990 or sum of the annual quantity of vested and senior and 44% of appropriation authorized
  • Groundwater use may divert allocation for any authorized place of use from a combination any of the wells authorized to divert
  • Approximately each five years the chief engineer may evaluate the information collected from additional studies and status of water rights and permits and make adjustments in corrective controls
  • If a water user exceeds five year allocation, the amount allocated or the next five years is reduced by twice the amount over pumped.
  • DWR sends out to each water use the five year allocation
  • Required all vested rights for surface and groundwater use and holders of recreation surface rights to file conservation plans
  • Chief engineer may adopt any special policies and procedures deemed in the public interest
  • Corrective controls are incorporated as conditions of each water right authorized in the IGUCA
  • Established an advisory committee to make recommendations to the chief engineer. Each formal participant at the conclusion of the public hearing was invited to appoint a representative to the advisory committee. The committee met 16 times between 1992 and 2001, made several recommendations to the chief engineer which have been adopted and is still in existence, although there have been no recent meetings.
  • The chief engineer may make changes to the order deemed to be in the public interest

February 19, 1992: Partial stay and request for temporary remedies filed by the Walnut Creek Basin Association and Mid Kansas Quality Water Association

  • The order issued on January 29, 1992 stayed in full force and effect as written
  • Request for partial stay and temporary remedies were denied in part and granted in part

December 6, 1996: Supplemental Order issued

  • April 9, 1996: Walnut Creek IGUCA Advisory Committee made recommendations to the chief engineer to increase allocations for the City of Otis' helium plant.
  • Allowed carry over of any allocation unused during the five year period of 1992 to 1996 to the new five year period of 1997-2001

June 24, 1998: Amended Order issued

  • The Amended Order provided a means for calculating an allocation for water rights found to be in good standing and in CRP with no reported irrigated acres during the six year period prior to enrollment. This had not been taken into account by the Supplemental Order.

June 29. 2001: Supplemental Amended Order (III) issued

  • Allowed each water right owner to carry over unused allocations from any one five year allocation period to the next five year allocation period so long as it does not exceed the maximum authorized quantity
  • Allowed applications to be filed for additional rate, with applicable conditions

July 31, 2017: Supplemental Order issued

  • Allowed term permits for non-fresh waters not connected to Walnut Creek or its alluviums and related deposits to be accepted.

Support Documents

Individuals who have questions regarding the Walnut Creek IGUCA should contact David Engelhaupt at David.Engelhaupt@ks.gov for more information.