The Kansas River is an important resource for the state of Kansas. The Kansas River begins at the confluence of the Republican and Smoky Hill Rivers near Junction City, and flows 173 miles to Kansas City, where it joins the Missouri River. The Kansas River Basin drains almost the entire northern half of Kansas, as well as part of Nebraska and Colorado (60,580 square miles in all). About 42 percent of the total land area of the state of Kansas lies within the Kansas River Basin.

The Kansas River Basin is the longest prairie-based river in the world. There are roughly 640 freshwater stream miles below all major dams, and approximately 100,000 acres of federally owned freshwater impoundments, including U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs, in the Kansas River Basin. It serves as a critical drinking water supply for more than 600,000 people in addition to being used for irrigation, municipal wastewater and industrial discharges, power generation and as a source of commercial sand and gravel.

In addition to flood risk reduction benefits from the reservoirs (more than $22 billion in flood damages prevented in the basin since construction through 2018), there are several federal levee projects located on the banks of the Kansas River that provide flood risk reduction benefits ($2 million in flood damages prevented in the basin since construction through 2018), mainly to larger urban areas such as Topeka and Kansas City, Kansas. Additionally, recreation use in the Kansas River Basin (boating, kayaking, camping, picnicking, fishing, swimming, hunting, wildlife viewing, etc.) provides substantial benefits to the local, regional and national economy.




The Kansas River Reservoirs Flood and Sediment Study (Watershed Study) is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Kansas including the Kansas Water Office and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

This report is not a project implementation document, but a set of recommendations and actions that can be taken in the future to address problems in the basin. The problems identified in the watershed include:

  • Flood Risk
  • Reduction in Ability to Meet Water Supply Demands
  • Degraded / Poor Water Quality
  • Ecosystem Degradation and Species Impacts
  • Loss of Recreational Opportunities




Comprehensive and strategic evaluation of the Kansas River Basin:

  • System operating plan
  • Reservoir operations and manuals
  • Reservoir facilities and features
  • Conditions upstream and downstream of reservoirs
  • Infrastructure
  • Flood risk
  • Drought risk and preparedness
  • Ecosystem degradation
  • Water supply availability and sustainment
  • Other related needs




Strategies/recommendations considered would include those necessary to reduce vulnerability and create resiliency of the existing system to ensure safety of communities and to meet the needs of citizens of Kansas. 

Measures considered would improve reliability of the system and include:

  • Structural restoration
  • Sediment removal
  • Reservoir operational changes
  • Demand management
  • Reallocation
  • Extreme event planning (i.e. flooding and drought)
  • Watershed management
  • Preservation and enhancement of recreational opportunities




  • Provides recommendations for actions that can be taken to solve the identified problems
  • Broad implications for decision makers at all levels of government
  • Provides a strategic roadmap that identifies the sequencing of priorities, including where federal authorities and appropriations are available, and where new ones are needed
  • Presents findings and recommendations for future efforts, including potential future projects and studies that could be conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the state of Kansas, sister agencies and other non-federal entities, both near-term and long-term




Have a question or comment about the Watershed Study? Contact us by sending an email to:

Or, you can send a question or comment by mail to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District

ATT: Plan Formulation Section

601 East 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64106

**Public comment period is open until January 15, 2024**




There are currently no scheduled public meetings. 




Documents for the Watershed Study are now available. Documents can be viewed HERE



Check back for more information on spin-off studies.