From the Kearney Hub (Leslie Reed):
David Barfield, Kansas water czar, said his state continues to assess whether to take the long-running dispute to the U.S. Supreme Court. “Obviously there’s substantial distance between the states on these issues, particularly with Nebraska’s future consumption,” Barfield said in an interview following the meeting. “You can expect Kansas to pursue this matter until we’re satisfied.”
It was the first meeting of the Republican River Compact Administration – the top water officials from each of the states that share in the basin – since an arbitrator made a nonbinding ruling last month that Nebraska irrigators need to reduce pumping in the basin to allow more water to flow to Kansas. The arbitrator also concluded that Kansas so far has established only nominal monetary losses as a result of Nebraska irrigators overusing their share of water during the drought years of 2005 and 2006. Although the states remain at odds, there was little saber-rattling at the meeting. Each official made a point of acknowledging the other states’ work on the issue.
Plentiful rain in the past two years has brought Nebraska back into compliance with the Republican River agreement, but Barfield warned that Nebraska would quickly fall out of compliance should the weather turn dry.