Colorado to 'aggressively assert' water rights with Nebraska

Vallecito Creek Trail, Vallecito, Colorado, United States
Posted at 7:55 AM, Jan 14, 2022

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Colorado has warned it will “protect and aggressively assert” its water rights after Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced a plan to spend $500 million on a canal and reservoir project that includes claiming access to land in Colorado under a 99-year-old compact between the states.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis says he will work with Nebraska but wants to learn more details about what the state has planned.

“Because water is the lifeblood of our state and our critical agriculture industry, we must work together across industries, divides and state boundaries to secure a sustainable water future for all Coloradans,” he said during the State of the State Thursday, adding that he was committed to updating the state water plan to make it “more climate resilient.”

His comments came as Ricketts released a proposed state budget Thursday detailing how he intends to fund the project.

Ricketts and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson announced the water plan after Colorado released a report that identified new water projects within the South Platte River Basin.