Kansas chief engineer responds to arbitrator's decision on Republican River dispute
David Barfield, Kansas' chief engineer and commissioner to the Republican River Compact Administration, had this reaction to the arbitrator's decision issued late June 30:
"Overall, I am encouraged by the arbitrator's final decision. It puts Nebraska officials on notice that they must take their compact obligation seriously through additional action. Regarding future compliance, the arbitrator concluded that Nebraska's current plans are insufficient to bring Nebraska into compliance during critical dry-year conditions. He concluded that Nebraska must make further reductions in groundwater pumping and obtain permanent contracts with surface water irrigators to ensure future compliance.
"The arbitrator affirmed Kansas' estimate of Nebraska's violations for 2005 and 2006 to be 78,960 acre-feet and rejected Nebraska's various proposals to amend the accounting procedures as 'not appropriate' and 'problematic.' While Kansas officials disagree with the arbitrator's decision that Kansas did not provide enough justification for its estimate of economic damages, it is clear that he did not provide a final answer to this question. The arbitrator also said that Nebraska cannot substitute dollars for the needed action to get into compliance."
The states have 30 days to review the decision and provide a response to the other states. After this is complete, a state is free to take any disputes to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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