The state Senate is considering a bill that would prohibit anyone from exporting water outside of Missouri without a permit.

Sen. Jason Bean, R-Holcomb, said Missouri does a good job maintaining its water and wants to keep it in the Show Me State. Bean said it’s due to how dry the state has been.

“As I look at the situation right now in Missouri, central Missouri is having a very horrible drought,” Bean said. “So, with this bill, if we’re going to help somebody, we’re going to pump water up to central Missouri to help those farmers and ranchers out.”

His legislation would require a water export permit through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources within 180 days of an existing permit’s expiration. The department’s director could determine whether the permit can be renewed, and the decision is subject to a commission review.

Bean said Missouri needs to use its water to help the farmers and ranchers who have been hit hard by the drought these past two years.

“Every time when I make this trip up here going through these counties in mid-Missouri, I mean these ponds are dry right now,” Bean said. “They’ve got to feed and water their cattle, and this is critical. Also let’s look at the Mississippi River right now and how important that is moving our goods down the river and there’s been a lot of struggles with that. I’ve seen that for myself with my own eyes when you’re only able to load a barge two-thirds full because of the level of the Missouri River.”

Under his bill, Missourians would be given priority to access and use the state’s water supply before an out of state water export application is considered.

Bean said that the state’s water supply is important to helping farmers and ranchers weather through this drought, not sending it out of state, and it starts through irrigation.

“You know looking at up into northern Missouri if there are pipelines if we could pump this water,” he said. “This country has lots of pipelines, you can encase those. I’m not a scientist on pipeline encasement, but you know, some type of a polymer of a plastic to pump that water up so that once again our farmers and ranchers up here in northern Missouri can also benefit from our water and our aquifer.

The state Department of Natural Resources said that Missouri shares its water with 26 other U.S. states, eight of which being its border neighbors.

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