LINCOLN, Nebraska -- Kansas deserves $5 million in damages from Nebraska, not the $80 million it had sought, according to a draft report released by the Maine attorney appointed to review the dispute.
Kansas had sought injunctive relief, shutting off Republican Valley irrigation wells, in order to comply with the 1943 Republican River Compact, but Special Master William J. Kayatta denied the request.
Kayatta did determine that Nebraska violated the compact in 2005 and 2006 by using nearly 71,000 acre feet more than it was entitled to.
"While we believe the suggested $5 million award is too high, we're pleased Kansas' demand for $80 million in damages was denied," Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said in a news release.
Both states will have a chance to comment on the draft Jan. 24 before the special master makes a final report to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Still unanswered is the question of who should pay the penalties; farmers who use the water, or all taxpayers in the state, which signed the original agreement.