(DERBY, Kan.) — Hot, dry weather is taking a toll on Kansas waterways. Many Kansas rivers are at their lowest level in decades.
“It's probably the lowest I’ve ever seen it,” says Penny Lusk who lives along the Arkansas River near Derby.
“Doesn't look like much of a river does it?” asks Lusk as she looks at the little water that is still flowing.
The Arkansas in Derby is running, but only at a fraction of what it normally does this time of year. As you head west, the river is dry.
National Weather Service Hydrologist Janet Spurgeon says things will likely get worse before they get better.
“We're looking at conditions to stay the same or even intensify,” says Spurgeon.
Low river levels can be found across the state. Some areas are approaching exceptional drought levels.
Kansas is asking the Corps of Engineers to halt releases of water from three of its small reservoirs for downstream navigation.
During a drought conference Wednesday, Gov. Sam Brownback asked U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts to help get the Corps to stop releases from the Milford, Perry and Tuttle Creek reservoirs while some upstream reservoirs remain at flood stage.
The governor also asked Roberts to support expanding the Kanopolis reservoir to hold 2 more feet of storage, which could help central Kansas during a future drought.
Brownback says he has allowed pumping from all of the state's fishing lakes to water livestock.
Kansas has now declared all 105 counties in a drought emergency, with crop losses projected at $1.5 billion.