WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is offering water rights holders in four more counties a pair of options allowing them to pump more water during the drought in western and south-central areas.

The state Agriculture Department's Division of Water Resources said Thursday it's adding Kiowa, Pawnee, Pratt and Rush counties to the 46 counties announced last month.

The options are intended to prevent crop failure while minimizing the effect of additional pumping on the aquifer.

One option involves multi-year flex account permits. Participants can spread usage of their water allocation over five years as long as the five-year total does not exceed the allocation.

The other option is available only in federally designated drought counties for this year. It's a one-time permit that gives holders of existing water rights flexibility to borrow from next year's authorized quantity.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.