Water Task Force Proposal Advances


LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A proposal to identify long-term water conservation projects in Nebraska has cleared a key hurdle in the Legislature, but lawmakers will likely scale it back to reduce its cost.

Lawmakers gave first-round approval Thursday to a bill that would create a 28-member water task force. The group would identify water-project needs, organize them and recommend a set of priorities to the Legislature.

Sen. Tom Carlson of Holdrege introduced the bill in the wake of a drought that affected the entire state. The Natural Resources Committee chairman says Nebraska needs to act quickly to ensure that the water supply is sustainable.

The proposal would cost about $3 million, mostly for consultants and research within a six-month window. Lawmakers are looking at ways to reduce the cost.