Friday, November 14, 2014 at 01:25 PM
Creation of the fund came a few months after a task force created by the Legislature (LB 517) concluded that “Nebraska stands at a critical juncture with water issues” — for example, the depletion of aquifers, reduced flow of surface water (due to groundwater pumping), and an interstate dispute with Kansas over use of the Republican River. (That dispute has reached the U.S. Supreme Court.) In addition to creating a new funding stream for water projects, LB 1098 (signed into law this year) requires local natural resources districts to work together on basinwide plans for managing shared water resources.
The state’s Natural Resources Commission, which will administer the new fund, has also been restructured. The governor will now appoint a majority of the commission members. Previously, most members were elected to represent particular river basins across the state, according to Unicameral Update (the newsletter of the Nebraska Legislature).