Kansas responds to Arbitrator's decision on Nebraska's overuse of Republican River water
On July 30 Attorney General Steve Six, on behalf of Kansas, formally responded to the Arbitrator's decision on Kansas' claims that Nebraska is depriving Kansas of vital water resources by overusing the waters of the Republican River basin to Kansas' detriment. Nebraska's overuse is in violation of an interstate compact and a U.S. Supreme Court decree.
"The Arbitrator agreed that Nebraska has used more than its share of water and has not taken adequate steps to live up to its obligations under the compact," Six said. "We will continue to fight to ensure Kansas farmers and communities receive the water they deserve."
Kansas' response, prepared in cooperation with David Barfield, chief engineer of the Division of Water Resources and commissioner to the Republican River Compact Administration, is a necessary step in the non-binding arbitration process outlined in the final settlement stipulation that was part of the Supreme Court decree.
After a point-by-point review of the decision, Kansas decided to accept some parts of the decision and to reject others.
Kansas accepted the Arbitrator's statement that Nebraska's attempts to comply are inadequate, and that Nebraska should make further reductions in consumptive groundwater withdrawals. However, Kansas rejected the Arbitrator's recommendations on damages, on a proposed remedy, and that sanctions must await additional violations by Nebraska.
For a complete list of recommendations accepted and rejected by the State of Kansas, visit: www.ksag.org.
"From the Arbitrator's decision, it's clear we were able to prove that Nebraska has not complied with the compact and settlement stipulation, that its current compliance scheme is inadequate and that it puts Kansas at risk for future water shortages," Barfield said.
Attorney General Steve Six, Chief Engineer Barfield, and their staff will continue to explore Kansas' legal options to protect the state's water resources.