Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Gov. Sam Brownback kicked off a statewide tour of the drought damage in Saline County, where urban and rural residents are cooperating to manage river water.
"The story that's shown here is really an amazing one of cooperation," said the governor. "Here you have irrigators and the city working together. The irrigators keep getting to irrigate, maybe not at the rate they'd like to. The city is getting the water that they need."
Farmers in Saline County are seeing the benefits of working together with urban neighbors to irrigate their crops.
"Working together everybody has tried to give every one a chance to irrigate, to at least continue to make sure that the crops survive," said Steven Johnson, farmer.
Although the city of Salina has senior rights to the Smoky Hill River, they have been cooperating with irrigators to manage the water flow of the river.
"We try not to do what we did in '06, when we actually pumped the river dry. Truly, there was no flow in the river at all," said Martha Tasker, director of utilities for Salina. "Due to this cooperation, we've been able to avoid that this year and I'm positive that it wouldn't have happened without the efforts we've done in the last five or six years."
The governor is hoping more communities will model after this cooperation.
"We've really got to do a lot more of that. This is a fabulous story of how you guys are doing that. Hats off to you," said Gov. Brownback to the farmers in Saline County and the city of Salina.
The governor will continue the statewide tour by heading to northwestern and western parts of Kansas.