Nebraska, Colorado, is arguing over water rights under a 100-year-old pact
Nebraska has announced a $ 500 million project to divert water from the South Platte River into a canal and reservoir to ensure producers have rights to their water.
Don Batie, a farmer in Lexington, says Colorado uses more water than it agreed to under a 100-year-old pact, making farmers “very cautious and concerned about the loss of irrigation water,” says Batie. “Two-thirds of the value of our farm’s land is only because we have access to irrigation water. If I were to lose access to the irrigation of our farmland, I would lose two-thirds of my net worth overnight, and that’s a substantial reason to be concerned. “
Batie tells Brownfield that he uses water downstream of the proposed canal to irrigate the fields. “We want Nebraska to develop the Perkins County Canal to maintain our water rights on the South Platte River.”
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says Colorado has launched nearly 300 projects in the state’s Front Range, which would require the use of river water, potentially reducing flow by 90 percent. “These low flows will have a dramatic impact on our ability to feed the world. How would we be able to continue to irrigate as we did and feed the world if the water receded? Agriculture would be severely affected. “
The 1923 South Platte River Compact between Nebraska and Colorado provides a flow rate of 120 cubic feet per second during the irrigation season and allows Nebraska to divert 500 cfs during the non-irrigated season.
Ricketts says Colorado is violating the agreement. “Although we have seen the flows that pass during the irrigation season, Colorado has issued permits that have indeed violated these 500 cubic meters per second that come during the non-irrigated season.
Ricketts and Attorney General Doug Peterson say they will claim Nebraska’s rights under the contract if Colorado continues to use more water than specified in the agreement.
The Nebraska legislature recently heard testimony about the allocation of funds for the project.
https://brownfieldagnews.com/news/nebraska-colorado-spar-over-water-rights-under-100-year-old-pact/ Nebraska, Colorado, is arguing over water rights under a 100-year-old pact