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