From the CBS Denver Youtube channel:
Colorado’s governor is warning he will “protect and aggressively assert” his state’s water rights after Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced a plan to spend $500 million on a canal and reservoir project.
From Omaha World-Herald (Nancy Gaarder) via The Lincoln Journal-Star:
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Wednesday that his state would work to protect its water rights in light of Nebraska’s proposal to build a canal in his state to pull water from the South Platte River.
In a statement, Polis said Colorado would “protect and aggressively assert Colorado’s rights under all existing water compacts.”
Ricketts said the canal is needed because Colorado is planning “nearly 300 projects and over $10 billion of expenditures to ensure no ‘excess’ water leaves its state.”
If those proposals are carried out, Ricketts estimates, there would be a 90% reduction in flows coming into Nebraska.
Polis said Ricketts’ comments reflect a “misunderstanding of Colorado’s locally driven water planning projects.”
Polis said Colorado has used roundtable discussions to generate grassroots ideas for solutions to Colorado’s water needs. These brainstorming ideas “should not be taken as formally approved projects.”
Colorado, he said, has complied with the South Platte Compact for its 99 years and continues to respect the agreement. “We hope that our partners in Nebraska will show they share that respect.”
In response, Ricketts issued a statement saying he “welcomes future conversations with Gov. Polis as we move forward to secure Nebraska’s access to water.”
Any project involving U.S. waterways typically faces rigorous scrutiny. Polis said any project by Nebraska in Colorado would have to comply with the compact, private property rights, state and federal laws and regulations, including environmental ones.