Initial recommendations concerning the dispute between Nebraska and Kansas regarding water usage from the Republican River Basin are in.
In a draft report released Wednesday by Special Master Kayatta the recommendation was made that Nebraska pay Kansas $5 million for breach of the 1943 Republican River Compact. That is well under the $80 million damage request made by Kansas.
Other recommendations included in the report include:
Attorney General Jon Bruning says he finds Kayatta's initial recommendations encouraging. He says, "While we believe the suggested $5 million award is too high, we're pleased Kansas' demand for $80 million in damages was denied. We also appreciate that Kansas' request for future restrictions on water use was denied and that the Special Master acknowledged Nebraska's accounting concerns. This report is a positive step for our basin irrigators who have worked hard to keep Nebraska in compliance with the Compact on an annual basis since 2007."
The draft report is still subject to further revision. And both sides will be able to respond to the report at a non-testimonial hearing on Jan. 24.