State agency chief urges financial support for South Platte project | Regional government

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The South Platte River flows through a park in North Platte in this 2020 file photo. Governor Pete Ricketts has proposed a $500 million canal project in eastern Colorado, which he says guarantees Nebraskans a continuous access to water from the South Platte.


North Platte Telegraph file photo


Nebraska could ‘lose up to 90%’ of the South Platte River’s water before it flows into the state from Colorado if it doesn’t act quickly to exercise its rights to secure its share of water, the legislature’s appropriations committee said. Tuesday.

Tom Riley, director of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, spoke in favor of a comprehensive pandemic recovery bill (LB1014) that would begin funneling $500 million in federal pandemic funding into building a system of canals and reservoirs to secure Nebraska’s share. some water .

Colorado is “spending 20 times what we’re asking” on water projects and could “seem to potentially ramp up construction now” in reaction to Gov. Pete Ricketts’ proposal to build a Perkins County canal with reservoirs, said Riley.

“Colorado is looking for water that Nebraska has the right to use,” he said.

Under the terms of the 1923 pact, Nebraska can build, maintain, and operate canals within the Colorado border that divert water from the South Platte River for use by Nebraska.

Ricketts announced his intention to exercise Nebraska’s rights to share water between states when he unveiled his 2022 budget recommendations to the Legislature.

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