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Topic: Water Plan

Gus Bogina, Kansas

Interview of August (Gus) Bogina, February 6, 2018

Interviewed by H. Edward (Ed) Flentje
In this 2018 oral history interview, former State Senator August (Gus) Bogina discusses his service in the Kansas Legislature, focusing on his 14 years in the Senate. Bogina reflects on his relationships with Senate leaders and governors during his 11 sessions as Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Bogina also describes his storied ride with the Highway Patrol when he was brought back from Johnson County following bypass surgery to cast the deciding vote on the water plan funding. A version of this interview is also posted on KansasMemory.org, the website of the Kansas Historical Society.
Mike Dealy Kansas

Interview of Mike Dealy, November 24, 2020

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In this 2020 oral history interview, Mike Dealy discusses his observations of Kansas water policy implementation during his career as the Manager of a Groundwater Management District (GMD). He reflects on the degree to which water policy permeates all aspects of society and politics. He recalls how the GMD Board's interest in water quality added a dimension to water management that didn't exist in all GMDs. He also notes that changes in the composition of the GMD Board of Directors had an impact on policy development and reflects on the importance of broad representation in the elected Board of Directors. Show MoreThat broad representation ideally can result in cooperation among all water users in a GMD, irrigators, municipalities, and industries, which is key to a successful management plan. Show Less
Ed Flentje and Rex Buchanan, Kansas

Interview of H. Edward (Ed) Flentje, June 14, 2019

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In this 2019 oral history interview of Ed Flentje, he recalls the intricate work of developing a water planning process and applying good governance principles to a highly contentious issue that involved a variety of entities both inside and outside state government in the 1970s. The innovations in water regulation that grew out of the agenda of Governor Bennett, for whom Flentje served as Planing Director, were carried out and implemented by succeeding Governors, Carlin and Hayden. Flentje's description of water policy rising to prominence in the Bennett administration demonstrates how governors benefit from listening to a variety Show Moreof voices when developing policy agendas. Show Less
Interview of Lon Frahm

Interview of Lon Frahm, June 18, 2020

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In this 2020 oral history interview, Lon Frahm describes his involvement in groundwater policy development as a member of Northwest Groundwater Management District No. 4. During the 1990s, he challenged the zero-depletion policy (to take only the amount of water that will be naturally replenished). Frahm supported local control of water management. He observed that over the years control over water planning has shifted to state-level water agencies, particularly the Kansas Water Office, that are not “invested personally” in managing water in northwest Kansas. In his view, state Water Plan funding has resulted in spending that Show Moredoes not help farmers and other local interests. Frahm cites the importance of local culture in setting water policy using as an example the Local Enhanced Management District (LEMA) in Sheridan County. He notes that the success of that endeavor grew out of the shared values of the farmers and a local market for grain. Frahm argues that changes in water use will be very slow over time, and water use should not be held back because we cannot predict the future. Show Less
Mary Fund, Kansas

Interview of Mary Fund, February 10, 2020

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In her 2020 oral history interview, Mary Fund talks about her involvement in water policy from the perspective of her work at the Kansas Rural Center (KRC) since the late 1970s. Fund authored Water in Kansas, A Primer, published in 1984 by the KRC. In this interview, she talks about the difficulty of making changes in farming methods that will conserve both water and soil when those changes require farmers to voluntarily alter decades of entrenched farming practice. Fund also observes that shifting the political culture is key to making voluntary changes work.
Ken Grotewiel, Kansas

Interview of Ken Grotewiel, December 5, 2019

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In this 2019 oral history interview, former Representative Ken Grotewiel recalls learning about the state and its urban/rural divide in addressing water issues. He found that these issues were not generally decided on a partisan basis. While representing Wichita in the Kansas House of Representatives, Grotewiel developed a good working relationship with Carl Dean Holmes, a Republican House member from western Kansas, especially on water issues, when they served together on the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Although Grotewiel had a reputation as a liberal environmentalist, he views his approach as that of a pragmatist. Among the Show Morewater issues addressed during his service in the House were purchasing storage in federal reservoirs that involved “minimum desirable stream flows,” irrigation, “water rights” that can affect streams, and the interbasin transfer of water. Grotewiel describes in some detail the challenges of passing legislation to fund the State Water Plan; legislation strongly opposed by farm groups and irrigators. He sites approval of water plan funding as an example of bipartisan cooperation and as the most significant accomplishment during his time in the Legislature. By the time he was appointed by Governor Sebelius to be Assistant Director of the Kansas Water Office in 2002, he noted considerable breakdown of civility in the Legislature. Among issues Grotewiel worked on during his service in the Water Office were use of federal money to purchase water rights along the Arkansas River and the purchase of land to protect the Equus Beds aquifer along with resisting the Legislature's diversion of Water Plan moneys for other purposes. Show Less
Joe Harkins and Rex Buchanan, Kansas

Interview of Joe Harkins, April 24, 2019

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In 2019 Joe Harkins sat down for an oral history interview conducted by Rex Buhcanan. Harkins describes a career that began in public health and ranged from addressing nursing home problems in Kansas to initiating a graduate program in health administration. Persuaded to take on running the Kansas Water Office, Harkins engaged in transforming the culture of water administration at a time when issues related to water had a high priority in the state. In a detailed discussion of water policy, he discussed the dynamics of the relationship between governors and the legislature in developing, adopting, and funding Show Morea state water plan in the 1980s and early 1990s. Harkins brings the perspective of a professional public administrator to the issue of water policy development. He recalls learning about water policy while he was in charge of developing it. Harkins also has the perspective of a key staff member in several administrations in which water policy was a high priority. He reflects on the importance of gubernatorial leadership and the power dynamics among the various interests that shaped the ultimate policy. Harkins laments that water issues are no longer among the highest priorities in state public policy administration. This interview provides the most comprehensive explanations of policy development in practice in Kansas state government that is available. Show Less
Mike Hayden, Kansas

Interview of Mike Hayden, June 13, 2018

Interviewed by H. Edward (Ed) Flentje
This 2019 oral history interview of former Kansas Governor Mike Hayden focuses on his service in the Kansas Legislature and his development as a politician and policy leader. Hayden shares anecdotes about his seven terms in the Kansas House, beginning with his quest to get then-Speaker Pete McGill to appoint him to the Advisory Council on Ecology and his speech on the floor of the House to kill the "mad dog" bill which did away with county welfare departments. The interview includes a discussion comparing the styles of various legislative leaders and what they taught him. Hayden's interest in water Show Morepolicy, conservation, and environmental education extended into his term as Governor. He championed public lands, an issue which he carried into his nine years as Secretary of Wildlife and Parks under three different governors. Hayden discusses the death penalty and many of the issues that were the basis for constitutional amendments under Governor Carlin and which Hayden handled as House Speaker. He also discusses the rising interest in abortion as the start of a more conservative, far-right movement. The interview includes many examples of how leaders with whom Hayden served framed the debate to their advantage. He concludes the interview by discussing the constant need to balance the state's interests with the those of local constituencies. Hayden saw his service in the Legislature as good training to run for Governor. Show Less
Dave Heinemann, Kansas

Interview of Dave Heinemann, July 10, 2014

Interviewed by Burdett Loomis
In this 2014 oral history interview, Dave Heinemann recalls his long career in the Kansas House representing Garden City, a career that spanned the years during which there were important changes in Kansas government. He served during an era when rural influence in the Legislature was waning due to fundamental changes in legislative districts. Heinemann's recollections of how legislators serve their constituents and how they worked with one another to craft legislation paint a picture of collaboration in the creation of public policy. His perspective points to the importance of personal relationships with colleagues within the chamber, Show Moreacross the rotunda in the Senate, and with the Governor's office. Show Less

Interview of Dave Heinemann, January 18, 2021

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In this early 2021 oral history interview, former State Representative Dave Heinemann recalls the influences that led him to run for office to represent the Garden City area in Finney County, Kansas. He attributes familiarity with farming in southwest Kansas, where water availability is always a challenge, with his understanding of water issues. In this interview, Heinemann talks about the various perspectives from which Kansans evaluate local control of water use. As Chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Heinemann was able to see how attitudes about public policies regarding the environment frequently cut across party lines. Show More A prior oral history interview of Heinemann can be found in the Statehouse Conversations collection on this site. Show Less
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