Republican River basin: The U.S. Supreme Court clears the way for Kansas to get Nebraska back in court

A picture named republicanriverbasinbydistrict.jpg

From the Associated Press via the Lawrence Journal World:

The high court gave Kansas permission to file a new petition over its allegations that Nebraska took more than its share of water in 2005 and 2006 — enough to supply a city of 100,000 people for a decade. Kansas sued Nebraska over the Republican River in 1998. The two states settled the case five years later, but Kansas contends Nebraska violated the terms of the agreement. Now Kansas wants to force Nebraska to reduce farm irrigation in its portion of the nearly 25,000-square-mile river basin and to pay Kansas back for the economic gains Nebraska allegedly saw for using too much water. Kansas previously calculated the amount of the potential payment at $72 million…

If Kansas prevails, Nebraska will be forced to stop irrigating about 500,000 of the 1.2 million acres in its portion of the Republican River basin, and farmers there would have to rely on rain to grow crops. Nebraska officials have acknowledged some overuse of Republican River water but questioned Kansas’ accounting, and they’ve noted that Nebraska has been in compliance with the settlement since 2006…

Lawsuits among states over water are filed directly with the Supreme Court, but it typically appoints a special master to review evidence and make recommendations to the justices. To hear Kansas’ latest petition, the Supreme Court appointed William J. Kayatta Jr., an attorney from Portland, Maine. Use of the Republican River’s water is governed by a 1943 compact between Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska. Colorado was given 11 percent of the water, while Nebraska was allotted 49 percent and Kansas, 40 percent.

More Republican River basin coverage here and here.

Leave a Reply