Legislative Bill 149 would define the types of beneficial uses for which Nebraska stream water may be appropriated. The bill is brief, provides no scheme of preferences among the categories of beneficial uses, is mainly intended to focus legislative discussion on the uses to which remaining unappropriated Nebraska stream water should be put, specifically recognizes as beneficial uses several uses heretofore unrecognized in Nebraska statue and case law, and proposes recognition of such uses as fish and wildlife, recreation, and navigation, which at least raises the possibility of in-stream appropriation of water. The bill may be the subject of some debate. Adoption of L.B. 149 would set the stage for the next, and even more competitive, step in updating Nebraska's appropriation law: Determining preferences among various beneficial uses for times when water is in short supply.

I. Introduction

II. The Beneficial Use Concept in Nebraska

III. L.B. 149’s New Dimension

IV. Diversion or In-Stream Appropriation

V. Conclusion