Bostwick irrigators did the right thing

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bostwick Irrigation District members know a good deal when they see it.

And, the rest of us along the Republican River Valley should be grateful.

The last time Bostwick irrigators got any water was 2003, and then it was only 6.2 inches per acre. Even if they wouldn't have taken the deal, they would have received much less than that this year.

Instead, they voted 172-14 to sell the water to the State of Nebraska, which will send it down the river to avoid a big payment to Kansas.

Farmers who have qualified land will get $100 per acre instead of water they might have received from the Harlan County Reservoir.

State officials are understandably pleased with the vote; Gov. Dave Heineman calling it "an extraordinary team effort" and Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline expressing gratitude to the irrigators.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation expects enough water to run down the Republican to raise the Harlan County Reservoir by about 3 feet, which should be enough to replace the 10,000 acre feet of water which will be released after July 1.

But that amount certainly won't be enough to cover all the water Kansas is owed. Water use must continue to be reduced along the river valley, and unless Mother Nature has a serious change of heart, don't be surprised to see more water rights go on the block.

The Bostwick irrigators did the right thing. Let's hope the Nebraska Legislature has the good sense to carry through with the $2.5 million in funding needed to finance the deal.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: