A couple of new reservoirs could go a long way toward providing Nebraska the water agriculture needs, according to a special legislative task force.
The Water Sustainability Task Force is to file a report with the legislature by the end of the month, suggesting how to keep the precious resource of water flowing, even in the dry years.
Sen. Tom Carlson of Holdrege, who sponsored LB 517 that created the task force, says two new reservoirs, one in the west and one in the north, could be the key.
“That’s not a quick fix, because it takes time with permits and everything to get these things done. But, that’s got to be part of a long-term plan,” Carlson tells Ken Anderson with Brownfield Ag News.
It could be a costly fix.
Just how to pay for any new reservoirs or any other structure needed to stabilize the water supply, especially for a state that uses irrigation so extensively, presents another difficult issue for the legislature to consider. Any fix is projected to cost $50 million a year.
The task force has 27 voting members; the 16 Natural Resources Commission members and the remaining 11 appointed by the governor.
Nebraska Department of Natural Resources Director Brian Dunnigan and six state senators, including Carlson, serve as non-voting members.
The task force is to submit a final report to the Unicameral by the end of the year.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]