Nebraska moves quickly on canal project to move Colorado water

An aerial view of a river


The more than 100-year fight over water between Nebraska and Colorado is moving into another stage as Nebraska is not letting dust gather on its plan to spend $628 million on construction of a major canal to move water from Colorado’s northeastern plains to reservoirs in western Nebraska.

The water will come from the South Platte River and the project, announced last year, could see construction begin in three years with completion seven to nine years later.

The Colorado Sun recently reported early design work is underway and public meetings are being held to decide potential routes for the canal and reservoirs. The paper quoted Jesse Bradley who is assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.

For those who think Nebraska is “stealing” water from Colorado, not so. It’s part of the 1923 South Platte River Compact, and Colorado under the agreement has an obligation to deliver the water.

Bradley told the paper that project could deliver 78,000 to 115,000 acre-feet of water a year, enough water to irrigate more than 115,000 acres of corn or supply water to more than 230,000 homes in one year.