Letter to the Editor

Water persecution

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dear Editor,

At the meeting of the Frenchman Cambridge Irrigation District, the Bureau of Reclamation gave notice to all surface water users that they will withhold 20,000 acre feet of water (one acre, one foot deep) to pay Kansas for Nebraska's overpumping.

During the last drought (2001 to 2007) there was not enough water in Trenton Dam to supply the meeker system canals. There were six years of no water delivered to the land, because of contract agreements, the Bureau collected and from me $32,076 to pay for government dams and maintenance of government canals. Other entities, another $8,000, and now they may even by-pass irrigation ditches to send all the water to Kansas.

The charges to surface water users will continue, except the NRDs will collect an additional $10 per acre for occupation tax ... maybe more, and that is without water.

The Bureau has given us a complete turnaround of policy and has aligned themselves directly behind the State of Nebraska in the persecution of surface water users. The governor, DNR, the two state senators all agree we should have no water rights.

All surface water users thought we had rights back to the 1940s and even some dating back to 1890. One senator's representative told me it would be political suicide; the other believes the water all belongs to the state. The governor, DNR and NRDs think they can manipulate anything regardless of the laws. Now the Bureau has stated to me "It's for the greater good." I wonder if Hitler may have used that in some of his remarks?

At any rate, I believe the U.S. Constitution and even Nebraska's constitution says something like "If the rights of one are infringed upon without just compensation, then everyone is in danger."

The Bureau has abandoned promises given in the 1940s when they were needing to acquire land to fill the necessary quota for dam construction. In some cases, they even condemned land by "right of eminent domain" -- forcing the owners to accept irrigation. Since that time, they have degraded themselves into a tin-foil bureaucracy that has no power, little if any influence and no try.

Those of us trapped in their web must pay or a lien is filed on our property. My entire estate goes to charity, so no one can accuse me of greed. However, I resent paying dues to an outdated agency when Southwest Nebraska and mostly Red Willow County needs income.

Tom Kiplinger

McCook, Nebraska

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  • Tom is right. Some NRD policies make little or no sense and just protect those that continue pump.

    -- Posted by dennis on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 2:09 PM
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