The Arkansas River Compact (Compact) was negotiated over a period of approximately three years by representatives of Colorado, Kansas, and the federal government. This Compact was encouraged by previous litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court. The resulting Compact was signed by Colorado and Kansas commissioners on December 14, 1948 along with the federal representative. The Compact was then ratified by the legislatures of both Colorado and Kansas and approved by Congress in 1949.

Article I of the Compact provides that “The major purposes of this Compact are to:

  • A.  Settle existing disputes and remove causes of future controversy between the states of Colorado and Kansas, and between citizens of one and citizens of the other state, concerning the waters of the Arkansas river and their control, conservation and utilization for irrigation and other beneficial purposes.
  • B.  Equitably divide and apportion between the states of Colorado and Kansas the waters of the Arkansas river and their utilization as well as the benefits arising from the construction, operation and maintenance by the United States of John Martin Reservoir Project for water conservation purposes.