Nebraska announces $500M plan to claim water from Colorado
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced a $500 million plan to divert water out of Colorado under a 99-year-old compact between the states that allows Nebraska to seize access to Colorado land along the South Platte River and build canals.
Ricketts says Nebraska would invoke its rights under the South Platte River Compact amid concerns that Colorado’s plans for the river could reduce water flows into his state by as much as 90%, taking a potentially huge toll on Nebraska’s agricultural and power industries and likely affecting water supplies in the state’s two largest cities, Omaha and Lincoln.
The compact, approved in 1923, is a water-sharing agreement between the states that entitles Nebraska to 120 cubic feet per second (897.6 gallons) from the river during the irrigation season between April 1 and Oct. 15, and 500 cubic feet per second (3,740 gallons) during the non-irrigation season.
Under the compact, Nebraska can build, maintain and operate canals within Colorado’s borders that divert water from the South Platte River for use by Nebraska
Nebraska’s move is likely to cause litigation between the states.