Alex Reuss, 402-471-1970
Justin Pinkerman, 402-471-1967
Press release :
Governor Ricketts and heads of state announce proposals to boost water resources
Gov. Ricketts (podium), AG Peterson (left of Gov. in gold tie), and members
of the STAR WARS Special Committee of the Nebraska Legislature in today’s briefing.
Video of today’s press conference is available by clicking here.
LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and heads of state presented proposals to strengthen Nebraska’s water resources.
Governor Ricketts announced that Nebraska intends to take action to protect its water rights in the South Platte River by building a major canal in parts of Colorado and southwestern Nebraska. The project, licensed under the South Platte River Compact, will support multiple uses, including irrigation, power generation and municipal water supply. The governor underscored the emerging need to protect Nebraska’s South Platte River water supplies, which are threatened by planned developments in Colorado. Funding for the project will be included in the governor’s proposed budget that he will share with the Legislature later this week.
Attorney General (AG) Doug Peterson joined the Governor to discuss important rights Nebraska enjoys under the South Platte River Compact. Signed in 1923, the Compact divides the waters of the South Platte River, ensuring that some flow will be routed to Nebraska at the state border near Julesburg, Colorado. Construction of the canal and storage system (colloquially known as the “Perkins County Canal” at the time of the signing of the Covenant) along the Nebraska-Colorado border will preserve Nebraska’s sovereign right to its share of the waters. from the South Platte River.
Additionally, President of the Legislature Mike Hilgers has proposed a number of water projects developed over the past six months by the Legislature’s Select Committee on State-wide Tourism and Recreation and for sustainability of resources (STAR WARS). The committee recommends them unanimously for approval by the unicameral. Their proposal includes plans to improve Nebraska’s existing water resources and create new water resources for Nebraskans to enjoy.
Among other projects, the STAR WARS committee’s proposal calls for:
- Construction of a new marina and related amenities at McConaughy Lake, as well as additional road improvements to reduce congestion and improve public safety
- Replacing a boat access facility along the Niobrara River in County Knox to provide access to world-class hunting and fishing in the area
- Construction of an event center and a lodge at Niobrara State Park
- A major marina expansion at Lewis and Clark Lake
- Flood control measures along the lower Platte River near Schuyler and in the Wahoo Creek watershed
- Creation of a 4000-acre reservoir between Lincoln and Omaha
The proposals presented today are dependent on legislative approval and will be discussed by senators during the current unicameral session.
The full video of today’s press conference is available by clicking here.