Retained by Foulston

Vega was retained to support Professor Stephen Hamilton in analyzing the benefits of transferring the place of use of water rights owned by the Cities of Hays and Russell (collectively, the "Cities"). The Kansas Water Transfer Act requires an economic-impact analysis of statewide benefits for water transfers exceeding more than 2,000 acre-feet of water annually. This is the first water transfer application in Kansas meeting the threshold requiring such analysis.

Dr. Hamilton's academic work addresses water valuation, water rationing, the conjunctive use of surface and groundwater sources, discounting, the internal rate of return, and the dynamic analysis of non-renewable and renewable resources. In this report, his analysis addressed two components: (1) Statewide economic benefits if the water transfer is approved due to investments in the water infrastructure and (2) the economic impacts for the Cities caused by drought-induced water shortages. 

He concluded that without access to new water sources, the Cities' existing sources would not be sufficient to meet demand for the cities during periods of drought and projected climate change could make water shortages more frequent, longer in duration, and more severe. He also concluded that approving the transfer would positively impact the economy of the State of Kansas by increasing the economic value of the water through reallocation to urban use and with the associated investments in infrastructure necessarily to convey the water to Cities.

On Monday February 5, 2024, Judge Spurgin issued his Initial Order on the Cities’ Water Transfer Application, and he accepted the Cities’ position on all issues, and Dr. Hamilton's opinions were a very important part of that result. 

The full copy of Dr. Hamilton's report and Judge Spurgin's Initial Order in this matter is available to download below.

Expert Report of Stephen F. Hamilton, Ph.D.

Rebuttal Testimony of Stephen F. Hamilton, Ph.D.

Judge Spurgin's Initial Order