Farm & Ranch Heartland Express | November 10, 2016 - page 5

November 10, 2016
Page 5
Nebraska Farm & Ranch
Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska Reach Consensus on
Republican River Compact
August 26, 2016
Courtesy of governor.nebraska.gov
Media Contacts:
Taylor Gage, Governor’s Office, 402-499-8351
Lori Arthur, Natural Resources, 402-471-3141
MANHATTAN, KS – Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska
established an agreement this week in the longstanding
conflict over water from the Republican River basin, as
the Republican River Compact Administration signed two
resolutions. Representatives from the three states have been
meeting monthly for over two years, in an effort to change
the approach and improve how they manage interstate water
matters. This effort has created a new focus on transparency
and certainty as all three states work to serve their water
users. The intent of these resolutions is to replace the need
for annual reviews and instead provide long-term surety to
water users.
“Signing these resolutions shows the commitment from all
three states to engage in open and transparent dialogue for
the past two years,” said Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.
“This long-term agreement will ultimately improve water
management for water users in Kansas as well as Nebraska
and Colorado.”
The resolutions signed this week will provide flexibility
and greater certainty to all water users in the region, while
remaining consistent with the terms of the Republican River
Compact and the Final Settlement Stipulation of 2002. The
three states have been involved in various litigation and
arbitrations for the past 15 years over administration of
water in the Republican River basin, and this agreement
is a significant and positive step forward, with the next
steps focusing on working with the basin’s water users to
implement these agreements.
“We are proud to be part of this historic agreement,” said
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. “For the first time
since signing the Compact, the three states have worked
together to resolve their issues without litigation and have
brought certainty to the water users in the basin. This is how
we do our best work in Colorado and defines our approach
to addressing our water challenges — cooperation and
collaboration.”
It has been a priority of the states to collaborate on
interstate water matters to ensure each state’s water users
are protected while also maintaining a positive working
relationship between the compacting states.
“These resolutions represent a long-term strategy for
representing each state and ultimately improving water
management for water users in all three states,” said
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.
The Republican River basin begins in the plains of
eastern Colorado and flows through northwest Kansas and
southern Nebraska, ultimately returning to Kansas. The
Republican River Compact was negotiated during the
early 1940s with participation by the states of Colorado,
Kansas, and Nebraska and a representative of the President
of the United States. The Compact was formally signed
in 1942. Its purposes are to provide for equitable division
of such waters, remove all causes of controversy, promote
interstate comity, promote joint action by the states and the
United States in the efficient use of water and the control of
destructive floods, and provide for the most efficient use of
waters in the Republican River basin.
The state official in each of the three states who is charged
with administering water law serves on the Republican
River Compact Administration. For more information
about the Compact, go to the following websites:
• Colorado:
/
RepublicanRiver/Pages/RepublicanRiverHome.aspx
• Kansas:
-
rivers-and-compacts/republican-river-compact
• Nebraska:
Rural Poll shows some housing shortages
More than 80 percent of rural Nebraskans are homeowners.
However, lack of affordable and quality housing is an issue
in some communities, the 2016 Nebraska Rural Poll shows.
While many rural Nebraskans surveyed say the
construction of new homes in their community is adequate,
most believe there are not enough homes or quality homes
available for rent. Many also say there are not enough
existing homes or quality homes available for purchase, or
apartments or quality apartments available for rent.
Randy Cantrell, rural sociologist with the Nebraska Rural
Futures Institute, said that in many rural areas a third or
more of all housing units were built before 1939.
“Such houses are unlikely to feature the amenities that
potential buyers find to be desirable, or even essential,
today,” he said. “That situation is compounded by the
fact that residents over the age of 65 tend to control the
largest single share of rural housing. In some communities,
members of the baby boom generation and their elders will
be found to own 40 percent or more of all housing units.”
For older homeowners, home maintenance can be a
significant financial burden and may be deferred. Since
many of those homes are expected to enter the market
as owners move into assisted-living facilities or other
retirement locations, some experts are warning of a potential
glut of homes that are poorly suited to current preferences.
The poll shows that people living in or near smaller
communities (fewer than 500 people) are more likely than
those living in or near larger communities (10,000 people
or more) to believe their town does not have enough of all
the housing options listed. People living in small towns are
more likely than those living in cities to say there are none
available or not enough of the following: new homes being
constructed, existing homes available for purchase, homes
available for rent, apartments available for rent, quality
homes available for purchase, quality homes available for
rent and quality apartments available for rent.
Regional differences also exist, with residents of the north
central region being most likely to cite not having enough of
all the housing options listed.
When asked what housing programs or priorities they
would support, most rural Nebraskans surveyed pointed
to programs that would help seniors stay in their homes,
help upgrade existing homes and provide affordable rental
housing. At least three-quarters of rural Nebraskans surveyed
would somewhat support or strongly support the following
in their community: develop programs to help seniors age
in current home (85 percent); offer low-interest loans or
grants for repair, rehabilitation or home improvement (83
percent); provide affordable rental housing (77 percent); and
purchase, rehabilitate and resell vacant housing (76 percent).
They are less likely to support organizing volunteer efforts
to maintain existing housing stock, but still 50 percent
support this option.
The Rural Poll is the largest annual poll of rural
Nebraskans’ perceptions on quality of life and policy
issues. This year’s response rate was 29 percent. The margin
of error is plus or minus 2 percent. Complete results are
available here.
Although the Grand Island area (Hall, Hamilton, Howard
and Merrick counties) was designated a metropolitan area
by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2013, the Rural Poll continues
to include those counties in its sample. Also, Dixon and
Dakota counties were added to the poll in 2014.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of
Agricultural Economics conducts the poll in cooperation
with the Nebraska Rural Futures Institute with funding from
Nebraska Extension and the Agricultural Research Division
in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
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