Nebraska governor, state leaders announces plans for multiple new water projects throughout the state

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 6:27 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KTIV) - Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said the state needs to build a $500 million reservoir in eastern Colorado and western Nebraska to guarantee water flows into the South Platte River.

The reservoir was part of a long-standing pact between Nebraska and Colorado but was never built. Colorado is now facing a water shortage and building several projects that could reduce up to 90% of the water flow in Nebraska. The reduced flows could drastically reduce irrigation and drinking water supplies to several cities like Lincoln and Omaha.

At a news conference, Monday, the Republican governor and several other state leaders said the reservoir will guarantee adequate water flow into the South Platte River and he also announced a proposal to build a separate Platte River reservoir between Omaha and Lincoln as part of a recreational hub. The reservoir will be 4,000 acres, a little larger than Lake Okoboji.

Ricketts also proposed increasing the size of Nebraska’s marine at Lewis and Clark Lake to attract more tourism on the Nebraska side of the lake, near Yankton. He also proposed building a small center and lodge at Niobrara State Park and replacing a boat access facility destroyed by the 2019 floods.

Ricketts says he will explain how he will fund the $700 million water project during Thursday’s State of the State Address.

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