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24-1209. Corporate powers and duties. Each watershed district incorporated under the provisions of this act shall be a body politic and corporate and shall have the power:

First. To adopt a seal.

Second. To sue and be sued by its corporate name.

Third. To purchase, hold, sell and convey land and personal property and to execute such contracts as may, by its board of directors, be deemed necessary or convenient to enable it to properly carry out the purpose for which organized.

Fourth. To construct, improve, maintain and operate works of improvement including such facilities and appurtenances as necessary for the conservation of soil, prevention of floods, disposal of water and the conservation, development and utilization of water for domestic, municipal, agricultural, industrial, recreational purposes and such other uses as may be authorized by the provisions of K.S.A. 82a-701 to 82a-725, inclusive, and any amendments thereto; and in any case where the construction, improvement or operation of such works causes the substantial displacement of a wildlife habitat and when required by the soil conservation service of the United States department of agriculture as a condition precedent to the release of federal funds for such works, to acquire land for the purpose of restoring such wildlife habitat. The power of eminent domain shall not be used for any such acquisition.

Fifth. To operate or lease any and all district properties and facilities associated with the use of water and to collect reasonable fees, rentals, tolls, and charges for the use of such facilities, said revenue to be placed in the maintenance fund of the district. Where the property is leased the lessee or anyone authorized to collect such fees, rentals, tolls and charges shall conform to a schedule approved by the board of directors of the district.

Sixth. To employ such professional services and other assistance as is, by its board of directors, deemed essential. Soil conservation engineering services may be used whenever available.

Seventh. To acquire personal property by gift or purchase.

Eighth. To acquire land and interests in land by gift, purchase, exchange or eminent domain; such power of eminent domain to be exercised within or without the boundaries of the district in like manner as provided by K.S.A. 26-501 to 26-516, inclusive, or any amendments thereto.

Ninth. To levy taxes and assessments, issue bonds and incur indebtedness within the limitations prescribed by this act.

Tenth. To cooperate and contract with persons, firms, associations, partnerships and private corporations, and with other watershed districts, drainage districts, and cities of all classes of this state, and with drainage districts, watershed districts, or other public corporations organized for similar purposes in any adjoining state and with other local, state and federal governmental agencies and to enter into co-operative contracts and agreements with any such districts, corporations or agencies.

Eleventh. (a) To take appropriate actions to extend and transfer the territory of the district, receive territory transferred from other districts, and dissolve all or a portion of the district as provided for in this act; (b) to merge with adjoining watershed districts, subject to approval of a majority of the qualified voters voting on the proposition in each of the districts proposing to merge.

Twelfth. To select a residence or home office for the watershed district, which shall be at a place in a county in which the watershed district or any part thereof is located and may be either within or without the watershed district as may be designated by the board of directors. The board shall thereupon designate the county in which said residence or home office is located as the official county for the filing of all official acts and levies. After an official county has been so designated, said county designation shall not be changed even though the residence or home office of said watershed district may be changed at a later date.

History: L. 1953, ch. 477, § 9; L. 1955, ch. 201, § 6; L. 1957, ch. 226, § 5; L. 1959, ch. 172, § 8; L. 1961, ch. 193, § 8; L. 1963, ch. 234, § 69; L. 1976, ch. 175, § 1; July 1.

Attorney General's Opinions:

Retention of counsel for tax planning matters. 86-117.

Assignment of liability for damages caused by works of improvement. 86-158.

Use of watershed district funds. 87-85. (See 87-99.)

Watershed district funds may be used to improve a road only if a direct and exclusive benefit to district and no other governmental entity is responsible for road. 87-99. (See 87-85.)

Sale or transfer of watershed district property to a governmental entity for recreational purposes is permissible. 87-122.

Watershed districts; taxation and bonded indebtedness; use of funds. 92-39.

Use of district funds to administer and cost-share water quality projects. 98-52.

Watershed district may not tax property outside the district although such property may benefit from watershed project. 2006-6.


1. Mentioned; commissioner's report is sole evidence of the land appropriated, the extent of the easement and its use. Roberts v. Upper Verdigris Watershed, 193 Kan. 151, 156, 392 P.2d 914.

2. Financing of general flood control plan by general tax levy approved. Barten v. Turkey Creek Watershed Joint District No. 32, 200 Kan. 489, 501, 438 P.2d 732.

3. Cited in holding watershed district's duty to comply with general plans not clear in enabling statutes; mandamus not proper remedy. Huser v. Duck Creek Watershed Dist. No. 59, 234 Kan. 1, 3, 668 P.2d 172 (1983).

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