The 1967 Nebraska Legislature directed the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Commission to "plan, develop, and encourage the implementing of a comprehensive program of resource development, conservation, and utilization for the soil and water resources of this state." The 1967 legislature also unanimously endorsed Legislative Resolution No. 5 which requires the development of a State Water Plan by the Soil and Water Conservation Commission. The Resolution specifically states that "this State Water Plan, in addition to an evaluation of the land and water resources, will also include an examination of legal, social and economic factors which are associated with resources development." The authors were encouraged by the Commission to complete an independent study of numerous legal aspects of the Plan prior to the summer of 1972. However, because of recent interest in the subject of moving water from one water basin to another in Nebraska, the authors decided this section of the larger study should be published now. Of course, this article does not represent the official view of the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Commission and may even at points be contrary to possible future policy decisions of the Commission. Before a comprehensive State Water Plan can be implemented in Nebraska, a decision must be made regarding whether to permit transfers of water from one drainage basin to another. This paper has been written to enlighten both laymen and trained lawyers about the bitter conflicts which have occurred in the past in attempting to obtain legislative authorization. A second goal has been to analyze legal impediments and to show how other states have approached the problem. Toward the end of the paper, an attempt is made to give an enlarged perspective by briefly looking at the shifts in opinion over time and by suggesting criteria for possible legislation. Hopefully, the information in this article will be useful to officials charged with understanding the problems of interbasin diversions, to citizens interested in the state's resources, and to legislators engaged in the decision-making process.
Jarret C. Oeltjen, Richard S. Harnsberger, and Ralph T. Fischer,
Interbasin Transfers: Nebraska Law and Legend,
51 Neb. L. Rev. 87
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol51/iss1/5