Kansas unlikely to be satisfied with water efforts
We've shut off irrigation on thousands of acres, purchased water to send down the Republican River, enacted a new tax on irrigated land and on all property in the area as well.
Nebraska also has plans to spend millions of dollars to remove trees and other vegetation that use up water along the river as part of LB701, the comprehensive bill to bring Nebraska into compliance with the Republican River Compact.
Surely we've done enough to convince Kansas we're trying to do that?
Don't count on it.
"We want water," said David Barfield, acting chief engineer for the Kansas Division of Water Resources. "We don't want plans or possibilities or whatever. We want water."
Cutting down trees is a "grand idea, but it doesn't necessarily send water to Kansas," Barfield said.
At a meeting in August of the Republican River Compact Administration, Nebraska is likely to be found to have been out of compliance for the last two years, and possibly three of the last five.
The drought was the most obvious cause of the problem, of course, but a head-in-the-sand attitude for the last half-century or more was the underlying source of the crisis. Under the mistaken expectation that surface water wouldn't be linked with groundwater, pump irrigation was expanded unchecked.
As a result of our own failure to act in a timely manner, we're in danger of losing control of our own economic future.
LB701 was a good start, but we'll need to do more before Kansas is satisfied.