I’m just curious about what the readers of this forum think about water policy in this state.
I grew up in Hastings and Republican City, my father had a house in Taylor Manor at the Harlan. I come from a family where both sides have farmed since the 1880’s, the Consbruck’s near Roseland and the Arneson’s near Red Cloud.
As a youngster I was fascinated with the rise and fall of Harlan and the irrigation my in-laws managed, some gate/trench and some pivot.
When my mother remarried I lived on a ranch north of Smith Center, KS and south of Riverton, NE. This is very dry, arid country, more so in today’s drought conditions. The avg. rainfall is approximately 18″, where I live now in West Point it’s 32″ to give you an idea.
Fights over water have went back forever in Nebraska. There was dam construction, neighbors diverting creeks, creeks drying up next to pivots, etc. This escalated in the 80’s, took off in the 90’s (especially after the drought of the late 80’s, early 90’s) and then SKYROCKETED in the the late 90’s into the 00’s.
When I drive home now across Nebraska, there are virtually no running streams – this INCLUDES the Platte, Blue, Little Blue, and Republican River along with at least another 50 or so creeks with names like 32-mile, 56 mile, Assumption, etc.
It has been reported in the Omaha World-Herald that 96% of ALL water used (pumped) in the state of Nebraska is used by irrigators. Many farmers now want the state or someone to pay them to stop irrigating on ground that should of never had irrigation! Many of these acres are under shiny new pivots! (Drive around and check, I counted 200 showroom shiny pivots on a trip to Kearney recently!)
Some of these landowners were protecting their interests, some replacing old pivots, some setting themselves up for a future windfall if it came.
Now ethanol is seen by many as a boom, the “boom” requires even more water when using corn! (Come on cellulose)
Kansas is not going to let us off the hook either.
There are no answers that don’t cost money or political capital. But I hope that other sportsmen take the time to become informed, attend meetings, write and visit representatives and get involved.
I welcome any thoughts or ideas. I wish I had better ones, unfortunately our politicians like to take a pic with a fish or pheasant once a year and spend the rest of the year pandering the farm vote.
I still have hope for the Spear T lawsuit regarding surface irrigators rights (pumpkin creek lawsuit).