State Agencies Supporting Water System Partnerships
Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE)
Kansas Water Office
State Policies and Programs Regarding Water System Partnerships
DWSRF PRIORITIZATION OF CONSOLIDATION PROJECTS
The enabling state statute of the Kansas DWSRF program requires the KDHE to encourage regional cooperation. According to the 2017 DWSRF IUP, there is no regionalization strategy specified in the Kansas Water Plan, but the DWSRF ranking system awards priority points to consolidation projects. Furthermore, DWSRF set-asides have been used to fund rate studies, which can help to target systems that would benefit from consolidation. Kansas has had consolidation done based on rate studies alone in order to take advantage of economies of scale.
FUNDING INTERCONNECTIONS WITH STATE FUNDS
Kansas’ Capacity Development Program manages the Regional Public Water Supply Planning Grant program, which provides 50/50 cost-share funding to study the feasibility of developing regional public water supply systems. Eligible projects must evaluate consolidation of two or more systems; the creation and operation of a Public Wholesale Water Supply District; and other infrastructure projects that benefit a minimum of three public water supply systems (two of which must be primary systems not currently connected to each other). In addition, Kansas’ Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, which is a competitive grant program available to water systems serving populations with low to moderate incomes, may finance regionalization projects. The preliminary engineering report, which is part of the application, must discuss regionalization possibilities. The Department of Commerce, who runs the CDBG Program, added non-competitive funds for regional projects that meet CDBG requirements. The CDBG funds are available to regional projects that qualify under the MOU signed by KDHE, KDOC and USDA Rural Development.
STATUTES AND REGULATIONS THAT ENCOURAGE PARTNERSHIPS
Kansas has been encouraging regionalization among water systems since 1957 through state legislation. There are several statutes which address water system partnerships, directly or indirectly.
- The Interlocal Cooperation Act (K.S.A. 12-2901 et seq.), passed in 1957, enables local units of government including school districts, townships, cities, rural water districts and other governmental units to enter into agreements to work together.
- K.S.A. 82a-637 et seq., passed in 1969, establishes the procedures required for acquisition of a rural water district by a city when the district’s service territory is within three miles of that City.
- The Public Wholesale Water Supply District Act (K.S.A. 19-3545 et seq.), passed in 1977, allows water suppliers to work together to build a common source and treatment center while maintaining their individual systems.
K.S.A. 82a-650 et seq., passed in 2005, essentially allows for the consolidation of rural water districts. The act establishes the procedures for acquisition of a rural water district by another rural water district. This statute allows two or more rural water district boards to enter into an agreement to merge into a single district. As a result of this act, the 40 rural water districts that existed prior to 2005 have consolidated into 15 new districts.
Helpful Links to State Resources
- Kansas Public Water Supply Section: http://www.kdheks.gov/pws/
- Regional Public Water Supply Planning Grant: http://www.kdheks.gov/pws/loansgrants/loansgrants.html
- Capacity Development: http://www.kdheks.gov/pws/capdev/capdev.html
- Kansas CDBG Program: http://www.kansascommerce.com/index.aspx?NID=127