Republican River case back to court
PORTLAND, Maine -- Kansas is taking Nebraska back to court over alleged violation of terms of the 2003 settlement of a dispute over the Republican River.
Attorneys representing Kansas and Nebraska will appear before Special Water master William J. Kayatta Jr. in Portland on Aug. 13, for a possible three-week trial.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to let Kayatta hear Kansas' argument that Nebraska violated terms of the 2003 settlement, and that the June 2009 non-binding arbitration was inadequate.
Kansas claims Nebraska used 78,960 more acre-feet of Republican River water than it was allocated in 2005 and 2006.
"Nebraska has failed to live up to the obligations under the compact, despite assurances given to the Supreme Court and our attempts to resolve this conflict through arbitration," Six said.
Kansas farmers and communities have been deprived of the water they rely upon in the past and will again under Nebraska's current policies. My office will continue this fight until Nebraska complies with our agreement," said Six, a Democrat.
Republican Jon Bruning, who recently lost a bid for U.S. Senate, said "We are working with local natural resources districts to ensure we stay in compliance. we are prepared to vigorously defend the state."
In 2009, arbitrator karl Dreher recommended that Nebraska pay Kansas $10,000 in damages for overusing the Republican River's water. He also rejected Nebraska's proposed changes to the way water allocations are calculated. Kansas had asked for $72 million in damages.
Kansas is now reportedly asking for $50 million and the shutdown of 300,000 acres of groundwater irrigation in Nebraska.
Nebraska will argue that its overuse was far less than Kansas contends.