History of the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District

George Everett

The organization of the UAWCD (founded in 1979) was inspired by George Everett, a local rancher and local community leader.  Everett was concerned that the historic development of homesteading under the Homestead Act of 1862 resulted in many early irrigation water appropriations in the lower Arkansas River basin, which appropriation rights could, and did, result in a stream administration that would shut down irrigation water right appropriations in the upper Arkansas River basin.  The goal of a water conservancy district in the upper basin would be public representation of all water rights owners in the upper valley, and to provide a public forum for developing water projects that could benefit water users and citizens of the upper valley.  A drought period occurred in the mid 1970s and the Division Water Engineer was administering irrigation pumping of irrigation water in a manner that allowed junior appropriation water rights to flow when more senior stream diversion water rights in the upper valley were not allowed to divert irrigation water. The Division Engineer’s administration policy became the catalyst that inspired the irrigators in the upper valley to join in the effort to create the UAWCD.

History of the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District  written by Ken Baker, July 13, 2009.

Founding members of the UAWCD:

Wendell Hutchinson

Ken Baker

Denzel Goodwin

Glenn Everett

Thomas Young