Though floodwaters have receded, recovery continues through much of Nebraska. Damages left behind by the flooding continue to be tallied.
State legislators want to make sure the state doesn’t have to go through this again.
“We, again, cannot afford another epic flood on the Missouri basin,” state Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha has told colleagues during debate on a resolution filed during the special session.
The resolution, LR12, outlines the devastation done by flooding along the Missouri and the Platte Rivers this summer and fall. Sponsor Lydia Brasch of Bancroft notes two of the counties in her senatorial district, Burt and Washington, suffered more flood damage than any others in the state.
The Farm Service Agency estimates that 144,600 acres of farmland was under water this summer; 119,000 acres of cropland and 6,200 acres of pasture. The Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates farm losses from flooding this year at $189 million.
Utilities took a hit, a hit that likely will be felt by consumers. The Omaha Public Power District purchased $32 million worth of electricity from other utilities due to the shutdown of the Ft. Calhoun nuclear power plant. It plans to raise rates by 5.9% to offset the added costs. OPPD was only one of seven utilities affected by the 2011 floods.
Cities continue to calculate flood costs. Omaha estimates it spent $12.2 million on flood clean-up. The much smaller city of Blair estimates it has spent $6 million on recovery efforts.
Brasch tells colleagues it has been an incredible summer for Nebraska.
“This has been truly an interim of great gravity, from sandbags to our Sand Hills,” according to Brasch.
The resolution approved by the legislature calls on Congress, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency to work with the governors of states affected by the 2011 floods to work on measures to ensure such a disaster doesn’t happen again.