Kansas AG ends 20-year water dispute

Ashley Stinnett Aug. 6, 2009, 11:00am

Steve Six (D)

TOPEKA, Kan. (Legal Newsline) - Kansas Attorney General Steve Six signed papers Wednesday, officially ending a 20-year dispute between his state and Colorado over usage of the Arkansas River.

Chief water officials from both states came to a formal agreement earlier this week, which specifies how Colorado's further action will comply with the Arkansas River Compact, Six said.

Kansas filed a lawsuit against Colorado in 1985, which resulted in four different hearings in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

During that time, the high court approved a computer program designed to track water depletions in Colorado. The court also required Colorado to pay $34 million in damages to Kansas.

"We're not saying additional disputes don't exist, because they do," Kansas Chief Engineer David Barfield said. "However, Colorado has shown us by this agreement that they are willing to resolve certain disputes without litigation,"

The Kansas-Colorado Arkansas River Compact was negotiated by both states, as well as the federal government in 1948. The purpose of the agreement is to settle all disputes between the two states and impartially divide the waters of the Arkansas River.

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