A significant step forward has been taken in a process that seeks to transfer the water rights of the Niobrara River Basin to state organizations.
On Monday, a purchase agreement was signed hat further solidified the transfer of water rights associated with Spencer-Hydro Electric Plant from the Nebraska Public Power District to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and The Niobrara River Alliance.
Deputy Director Tim McCoy with the Commission says if the conditions of the purchase agreement are met, it will keep the rivers water rights secure.
“We’ve believe its a good opportunity for all the parties to work together,” says McCoy.
He says the purchase would include the facility itself and, once its decommissioned, the water rights would transfer to the organizations.
McCoy says with the agreement completed, organizations are now working to secure funding to complete the $9 million purchase.
He notes the transfer is only possible thanks to a bill passed by Unicameral in 2016 allowing for an entire water right to be transferred for basin management purposes.
“It’s a very unique solution,” says McCoy, “I doubt it would ever be applied to anywhere else in the state.”