Letter to the Editor

Local control, local solutions

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dear Editor,

1. "Keep decisions about our economy and our water out of the hands of the state and courts.

It is already in the courts. The Occupational tax will be heard before the Nebraska Supreme Court Nov. 3, 2011. It is evidently in the United States Supreme Court (ORDER LIST: 562 U.S.) MONDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2010 126, KANSAS V. NEBRASKA AND COLORADO. The Acting Solicitor General is invited to file a brief in this case expressing the views of the United States.

The courts are the remedy for injustice.

2. Why Worry? Some candidates for the Middle Republican Natural Resources Board want the state or the courts to make decisions for us.

The candidates they are referring to want equality. According to the Nebraska statutes, "Every landowner shall be entitled to a reasonable and beneficial use of the ground water underlying his or her land" "and the correlative rights of other landowners when the ground water supply is insufficient to meet the reasonable needs of all users." The plan adopted by the MRNRD board will shut off ground and surface irrigators so that those irrigators that are not located in the river and steam areas can continue to irrigate and still allowing depletion of the aquifer. In the past 10 years the Rapid Response irrigators would have been most likely shut off 5 of those years. This will require the state to order additional expansion into the Quick Response area and beyond because of the lag effect of the depletion of the aquifer to the depletions of the streams. The state is the entity that determines the amount of shut down necessary for basin compliance and the NRD board determines how and who.

3. According to a University of Nebraska study, the type of immediate, permanent irrigation shutdown throughout the district proposed by our opponents would: Reduce property values by $93 million annually; cause businesses to lose $29 million in sales each year; and cut 200 jobs in the area.

First there is a difference between shut down and shut off. Shutting off the Rapid/Quick Response areas would translate to considerable more job losses, cause a lot of the tenants to go broke, and require a lot of layoff's or shutdowns of goods and services suppliers and dealers. A shut off reduces values and valuations of about everything in rural areas and towns. In looking at the numbers it would be better to shut down the MRNRD to what is both sustainable and meets the compact requirements, than to shut off of irrigators in the Rapid/Quick Response as the 5 above board members propose, and letting them and their neighbors continue to deplete the aquifer. A shut down of the whole NRD will cause less economic loss than a shut off of the Rapid/Quick Response. An equal allotment would be equable for the total basin.

4. Nebraska is in Compliance with the Republican River Compact, Our plan satisfies the courts, keeps us in compliance in the future, and provides the district a balance of both hydrologic and economic sustainability for the future."

Then why is it going to the Supreme Court again? Nebraska has not signed off on the arbitrator's decision. In the upper reaches of the streams the aquifer is still declining.

5. A court arbitrator even agrees.... "Nebraska is now on track for compliance."

It is questionable as when, how and under what circumstance it was said. Evidently they didn't stay on track as this is from the arbitrator ruling. "The decision is in favor of the State of Kansas and against the State of Nebraska with recommendations for further action by the States."

A fact is; there are numerous studies and rulings that show what had happened, was happening, and what was going to happen in regards to the aquifer and its effects on stream and river flow. In the not too distant past, the greater part of stream flow water came from ground water seepage into the streams. They were called a gaining stream or river. As the aquifer is depleted to a point where the water table became lower than the stream, anywhere in the basin, the stream becomes a losing stream or river. A good example is the Blackwood Creek. I can remember fishing in it when I was a youngster a considerable ways north of the highway. A few years back there was a tremendous amount of rain in the Hayes Center area and people were told to evacuate downstream because of a flood. It never got to the river because the Blackwood Creek water table had been lowered, all the flood water soaked into the ground (aquifer). The same thing happened in the Holyoke Colorado area. These are now losing streams or rivers. As the aquifer is pumped down in a greater distance from a stream, it will still have the same effect on the stream and river, but depending on the distance, it will take a longer time to happen. This is called the lag effect. Allowing those areas away from the river to continuing depleting the aquifer, while shutting off the Rapid or Quick response and the surface water irrigation, is not the solution.

Claude Cappel


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  • Once again the uninformed have spoken. What is outlandish is the rumor mill unsupported by fact is allowed to be published. People need to be informed and not swayed by half-truths and propaganda not supported by fact.

    -- Posted by sally jean on Fri, Oct 22, 2010, at 11:14 AM
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