Surface Water Appropriations Opened in Republican River Basin
The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) has started to open
surface water appropriations in the Republican River Basin.
These openings come after previously issuing closing notices for the
Republican River Compact in early January in light of the level of drought the
basin was facing.
Both the actions of the Department and the actions by local natural
resources districts are key components of the joint water management plans.
These are developed between the Department, natural resources districts, and
stakeholders in the basin to manage water levels.
Even with these openings there are no guarantees of how long or which
appropriators will remain open.
Surface water appropriations in Nebraska are administered on the
"first in time, first in right" basis. This means the older water
right will receive water before newer rights in times of shortage.
The weather in the next few weeks to months will help to determine
whether additional appropriations can be opened or even if those that have been
recently opened will need to be closed.
Brian Dunnigan, Director of the Department, said "we have evaluated
the outlook in the basin in terms of this year's Compact compliance targets and
believe that these actions are appropriate at this time."
He said the department will continue to monitor the situation closely.