Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation,On Approval of Water Task Force Legislation
LINCOLN, Neb., June 4, 2013 – “We greatly appreciate the work of both the Legislature and the governor in approving legislation that will help Nebraska move forward in addressing the long-term funding needs related to managing our state’s water resources. The establishment of the water task force initiated by the passage and signing of Legislative Bill 517 is an important step in working toward solutions that will help meet the diverse needs of Nebraska water users.”
“Water is the lifeblood of Nebraska agriculture and is key to helping fuel Nebraska’s agriculture-based economy. Sound water policy and water resource management is not only critical to Nebraska farm and ranch families, but to all Nebraskans. It is our hope the task force will successfully find ways in which Nebraska can fund water management programs, projects and activities that will help assure the state’s long-term water needs are met, help the state meet its obligations under interstate water use compacts and the federal endangered species law, and in the management of both ground and surface water. It is our belief that efforts made today to address these important issues will only benefit future generations of Nebraskans.”
LB 517 establishes a Water Funding Task Force charged with prioritizing water programs, projects and activities in need of funding in four broad areas: research, data and water modeling needs; rehabilitation and construction of water management infrastructure; conjunctive management of ground and surface water; and state compliance with interstate water compacts. The task force is to report back to the Legislature by Dec. 31, 2013. The task force will include members of the Natural Resources Commission and 11 additional members to be appointed by the governor. The director of Natural Resources, the Chair of the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee and five additional members of the Legislature serve as ex-official members. The legislation was introduced by Sen. Tom Carlson of Holdrege, Neb., chair of the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee.