Minimum Desirable Streamflow

Minimum desirable streamflow (MDS) requirements were made part of the Kansas Water Appropriation Act by the Kansas Legislature to ensure base flows in certain streams to protect existing water rights and to meet in-stream water uses related to water quality, fish and wildlife, and recreation. 

MDS is currently being administered on the following streams: 
Little Arkansas River; 26 surface water rights / permits in the drainage area above the Alta Mills gage; to cease pumping by August 16, 2022; 19 surface water rights / permits in the drainage area between the Alta Mills and Valley Center gages; to cease pumping by August 26, 2022.

Little Blue River; 21 surface water rights / permits in the drainage area above the Barnes gage; to cease pumping by September 9, 2022. 

Republican River; 78 surface water and groundwater rights / permits in the drainage area above the Concordia gage; 165 surface water and groundwater rights / permits in the drainage area between the Concordia and Clay Center gages; to cease pumping by September 30, 2022. 

The Division monitors 23 streams and rivers at 33 locations for MDS. When flows drop below an established threshold, pumping restrictions are imposed on permits or water rights granted after the MDS provision was made into law in 1984.

All applications to appropriate water for beneficial use filed on or after April 12, 1984, are subject to any MDS requirements identified and established pursuant to the following statutes: Any person who makes unlawful diversions of water while an MDS order is in effect may be subject to criminal and/or civil enforcement under the Kansas Water Appropriation Act, which may include the assessment of civil penalties of up to $1,000 per day of violation and modification or suspension of approved permit(s) or water right(s).
In order for administration to end, streamflow must remain above the MDS threshold on the affected stream for a period of at least 14 days, or appear likely to remain above MDS for the foreseeable future.

Related Links:

Minimum Desirable Streamflow in the Lower Republican River Basin   

Current Overview

As required by Kansas Administrative Regulation (K.A.R.) 5-15-4, MDS administration will occur in the Republican River basin when both of the following conditions have been met:
  • Streamflow has been below established MDS threshold for at least 7 consecutive days.
  • The streamflow trigger value set in K.A.R. 5-15-4 has also not been met for the preceding 60-day period.


The following link shows stream flows in cubic feet per second (cfs) for the Concordia and Clay Center gages of the Republican River. The September MDS threshold for the Concordia gage is 80 cfs and the September MDS threshold for the Clay Center gage is 100 cfs as outlined by K.S.A. 82a-703c, K.A.R. 5-15-1(a)(1) and K.A.R. 5-15-4. 

Republican River Flows, Concordia and Clay Center

*Gage readings may be affected by ice during winter months.

 The 60-day criteria is computed as follows:

  1. Divide the mean daily flow for the day by the MDS threshold for the day. 
  2. Compute the average of the ratios computed in step one for the previous 60 days. 

The ratios described in step one have been computed for June 1 through July 30 (60 individual ratios). On July 31, the average of those 60 ratios is computed by summing the ratios and dividing by 60. If that average ratio is less than 1.5, the 60-day criteria for initiation of MDS administration has been met.
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