The Importance of Water

green field with irrigation machine
Photo by Mark Stebnicki from Pexels

Land, Water, Wildlife Chair: Elaine Giessel
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The Kansas Sierra Club has long advocated for protection of our drinking water, our rivers, streams and lakes, our wetlands and our groundwater. Sierrans nationwide were working to strengthen the Clean Water Act when the Kansas legislature attempted to avoid protecting small streams from pollution by changing the definition of a stream! The Kansas Chapter forced EPA to block Kansas efforts.

Agriculture, our primary economic driver, is responsible for about 80% of Kansas water usage. But, lifestock operations and crop irrigation are depleting the High Plains Aquifer and contributing to nutrient, chemical and microbial contamination of both groundwater and surface water. Fracking for oil and gas requires millions of gallons of fresh water per well, while contaminated wastewater is disposed in deep wells, far removed from the water cycle.

Climate change models predict that warming in Kansas will exacerbate our already critical water situation. Droughts will become more frequent. Increased demand for limited and often polluted water resources can only drive up drinking water costs for everyone and impact recreation on our waterways.

We must step up the fight for clean water by protecting natural wetlands and rivers, by promoting water conservation efforts across the state, by participating in local stream monitoring, by working with State agencies on remediating polluted waters, by reducing introduction of toxics into our waters and aquatic food chains, and by educating Kansans.

Sierra Club members are encouraged to conserve water at home, to avoid contaminating runoff with chemicals, oil and fertilizer, and to participate in local stream monitoring efforts.